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Booksigning at Woodside

January 26, 2015

IMG_1895I’m coming down off the high and exhaustion of two days of book signings at Woodside Bible Church in Troy, Michigan. What a blessing to talk to so many people I hadn’t met before! I think one of the fun parts, besides talking about the stories, is watching the children who are attracted to my candy dishes of mints and dark chocolate! No matter how big the foyer, candy must put out antennae to attract people. Since I can’t write without at least some chocolate nearby, it makes sense to share it. :)

IMG_1902Randy took some pictures for me, so I’ll post a few here. You can see more on my Facebook page. With this book it was great fun to dress to match the cover’s colors. The pastor’s wife dressed in black and red on Saturday night and I thought, “What a great idea!” I had planned to wear black the next day, but needed to make a trip to IMG_1910Target to find a red scarf, which actually turned out to be the exact shade of crimson I was seeking! So I wrapped it like a cord around my neck. I wonder if anyone made the connection, but it was fun regardless.

I came home and had the privilege of Skyping with one of my kids. Tiger even joined the conversation and spent time on my lap listening to him talk. Tiger thinks his boys should visit in person more because he doesn’t see into the computer screen too well. Perhaps he should learn to fly with us someday.IMG_1922

Last night as I was trying to unwind, I pulled out a packet of old photos from the 1920’s-1950’s, along with some news clippings of family members, some we knew, some we never met. But more on that next time.

Last minute addition on the book – I just received the news that Library Journal gave The Crimson Cord a great review! Here’s what they said:

Sold into slavery and prostitution to cover her husband’s gambling debts, Rahab has nothing to lose by harboring two Israelite spies in exchange for protection when the army of Israel arrives at the gates of Jericho. Putting her trust in an unfamiliar God gives Rahab the strength to believe the spies will keep their word. VERDICT Impeccable research and vivid prose from Smith (“The Wives of the Patriarchs” series; “The Wives of King David” books) brings the ancient city of Jericho to life. The author’s reinterpretation of a classic Old Testament story rings with authenticity. CF devotees who relished ­Tosca Lee’s Legend of Sheba, Tessa Afshar’s In the Field of Grace, or Angela Hunt’s Esther: Royal Beauty will enjoy this pleasurable read.

Just WOW!

Thanks to everyone who came to my book signing. I truly hope you enjoy The Crimson Cord!


4-Star Review from Romantic Times

January 24, 2015

Rahab CoverThis weekend is my first two-day book signing! I am looking forward to talking to everyone who has the chance to stop by. If you are in the area, it will be held at Woodside Bible Church in Troy, Michigan from 6:00-6:30 tonight and 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. tomorrow between services. This is really a rather exclusive book signing as The Crimson Cord is not yet available in bookstores. So if you want an early copy, please stop on by. It would be fun to see you there!

In other news, this week I learned that The Crimson Cord received a 4-Star Review from RT Magazine. Here is, in part what the reviewer said: (I don’t have a copy of the magazine yet to read the full review.)

“Smith has captured the message of what took place in Jericho. The story of Jericho, the only home known by Rahab and her family, unfolds slowly and builds toward the events surrounding the rumors of the Israelites who camp and worship the one true God. The reader will be given a historic view of the treatment of women by those who worshipped idols and bowed down to rulers who were corrupted by greed.”

I am grateful to RT for reading the book and always thankful when they find it a worthy read. Thank you, RT!

My launch team should be receiving their materials for the launch of this first book in the Daughters of the Promised Land series, and I’m told by my publisher that a blog tour is planned for February 15th-21st. (Closer to the actual release date for the book.) I’m super excited to know so many people are willing to give their time to read and review the book! To all of you – mega thanks!!

It’s always a crazy time when a book releases, especially when I’m also in the middle of working on other projects. So if I don’t always respond quickly if you write to me, please know that it why.

One last announcement – I will be the featured author on the ACFW site on February 2nd! The interview was a lot of fun. I will try to post a link here when it’s live.

Blessings to all~

The Crimson Cord

January 17, 2015

IMG_3863Thursday afternoon I returned home from running errands, spending some time with my mom, to discover a package on my kitchen table. It looked suspiciously like the kind of envelope a book comes in. Since I’ve been waiting for my first copy of The Crimson Cord, Rahab’s story, to arrive, perhaps you can imagine my delight when that’s exactly what came!

The seventh full-length novel, first in a new series, and all I could say was “Wow!” The feeling of that first book just never grows old. The “wow” factor comes from the realization that a kernel of an idea several years ago could grow into an actual book. To realize that a team of people worked to bring the story together, helping polish the prose, creating a wonderful cover, and caring about the details I don’t even think about is humbling. Call me grateful, because I can’t think of a better word to describe the feeling.

Rahab’s story in Scripture is one of such courage, such grace, such faith–there is really none quite like it. I hope you will take the time to search the Scripture’s, both Old and New Testaments for Rahab’s name and just read what God has to say about her. You may be surprised or you may already know her story, but somehow in the reading the words become new again and real to our hearts.

I will be doing a book signing for The Crimson Cord this coming weekend at Woodside Bible Church, 6600 Rochester Road, Troy, Michigan 48085. You can find a map here.

Book signing hours are:

Saturday, January 24, 2015, 6:00 – 6:30 p.m. after the service.

Sunday, January 25, 2015, 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. between services

If you live in the area and want an early copy of the book, please stop by. The book doesn’t officially release until February 15, 2015, but we were allowed a special preview for this weekend. I hope you can join us!

As always, I hope and pray that this book blesses you, that it draws you to the Lord to seek truth in His Word. My stories are simply glimpses of what “might have been”. The Bible has what really happened. I encourage you to compare, and if there are discrepancies, believe His Word.


Happy Birthday to my son!

January 14, 2015

IMG_2942Thirty years ago today, I held a beautiful baby boy in my arms. I still see his pictures in my mind’s eye, even when I’m not perusing old photo albums. I think a mom takes pictures with her heart, not just her camera.

About three weeks before he was born, we were sitting in church watching a Christmas pageant when it felt like God almost whispered his name in my ear. I leaned over to Randy and said, “If it’s a boy, let’s name him Christopher.” And we did.

Our Chris was all boy, and yet carried a compassionate creative side to his personality. As a child, he spent hours playing in the sandbox or the pool or organizing street hockey. But he could as easily be entertained with Legos and video games and music. One thing I really miss with him not living here is the music that came from his guitar.

10396271_10205018845567585_8926607804251917823_nHe played high school basketball all the way to state finals, and spent a year between finishing his bachelor’s degree in graphic design at film school. For years he assisted our widowed neighbor with any projects she could find for him, and she still tells me how much she appreciated him and misses him.

He knew early on in life that he wanted to make movies, and he and his older brother spent hours with our video camera or on the computer adding special effects to their short films. Today they are still pursuing that dream, while they also work their day jobs. I posted this here before, but Chris had a hand in the recent holiday Honda commercials featuring various toys. You can check them out here. (Search Honda Commercials for Jem, Stretch Armstrong, Gumby, and more.) In our opinion, he did a great job!

Today Chris lives and works in California, has found a wonderful girl and married her at the beginning of this year and we couldn’t be happier! Now we have two daughters-in-love! For this mom and dad though, the distance between Michigan and California is mighty far. We are grateful for technology and enjoy chats over the webcam whenever time allows, but it just doesn’t replace the in-person hugs. Chris’s laughter is contagious, his tender heart comforting. As his parents, we count ourselves truly blessed to call him son.

Happy Birthday, Chris!


by jill at 8:19 pm in

I’ve studied the craft, I’ve got the book, what’s next?

January 13, 2015

Great! You have spent the time it takes to read how-to books on writing. (For those who want a list of suggested titles, see below.) Now that you’ve applied those techniques to your book and rewritten it until it shines, what next?

Now would be a great time to find a critique group or a freelance editor. This is true whether you choose to seek traditional publishing or go the self-publishing route. Everyone needs a good editor. Everyone. And it also helps to have some great critique partners too.

Why do I say that?

Because we are too close to our own work. Before the world sees our prose, we need fresh eyes and fresh perspective on our stories.

This might also be a good time to join a writers support group. For fiction writers who are Christians I recommend American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). This would be a good group to join long before you’ve even written that first draft.

Writers groups can be a good place to find critique partners. I have been in several groups through ACFW – long before my work saw print. The last group I was in was made up of ACFW writers, some of whom had been published in the past and some who were very close to it. I was the last in that group to land a contract, which made hanging out with them online all the better as they were great encouragers and we were all rooting for each other. In fact, this past year at a retreat I attended, four of us from that original group met again, this time in person. Two of those gals have remained lifelong friends.

I also recommend the help of a freelance editor because they are professionals. A critique group may not be. Freelance editors have the grammar skills along with the writing skills to know what needs to go into a story. But do your research and make sure you find one that understands fiction. Their input can be invaluable.

After you have the book read and/or edited, and you have polished it yet again, you may be ready for the next step. More on that next time.

Here is that list of book suggestions* to help you get started in doing your own editing:

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Browne and King

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great by Donald Maass

Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell

Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between by James Scott Bell

GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon

45 Master Characters – by Victoria Schmidt

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by William Strunk

Easy Grammar: Plus Student Workbook  by Wanda Phillips (for those who want to brush up on the basics)

The Fiction Writer’s Book of Checklists: Gentle Reminders to Help Your Work be the Best It Can Be (Writing Lessons from the Front 9)  by Angela Hunt

Write Your Novel in a Month: How to Complete a First Draft in 30 Days and What to Do Next by Jeff Gerke

Write Your Novel in a Month: How to Complete a First Draft in 30 Days and What to Do Next by Jeff Gerke

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method (Advanced Fiction Writing) (Volume 1) by Randy Ingermanson

Writing Fiction For Dummies by Randy Ingermanson

*I have not read all of these books. They are simply suggestions.

by jill at 8:01 pm in ,