Submission Advice and Love Stories by Jeffrey S. Savage

Wow. Three weeks on the job and already I've been late on two of them. Wonder if LDSPublisher leaving the help wanted ads folded next to my laptop is a hint. I really did have an excuse though: a six state business trip in five days including visits to Little Rock, Atlanta, Hartford, Salem, New Hampshire, Detroit, and Utah. I also got to add to my weird flight stories with the first time I've ever had the oxygen masks drop on a plane. Fortunately the pilot had accidentally hit the wrong button. But it still took two hours to get the masks all repacked.

It reminded me a little of the way we as authors can make mistakes no matter how experienced we are. I'm sure the pilot knew to keep his finger away from that button. He'd flown plenty of times and never made that mistake. But one moment of carelessness required everyone to get off the plane and created a long delay that ended up making many of us unable to get rental cars, find taxis, etc.

Jaunting around the blogosphere, I noticed several great posts on avoiding mistakes in our writing and submitting.

Frank Cole had an insightful interview with CFI acquisitions editor Jennifer Fielding. Lots of great information here, but one of the things I liked best was this piece of advice.

"Present your premise as succinctly and desirably as possible.

"If you can tell us in the first (short) paragraph of your cover letter what your book is about and why we should be dying to read it, you may grab our attention enough that we decide to put it on our desk instead of on the shelf to read later. You don't need to tell us the story, just tell us why we should be interested. Also, don't waste time telling us that you were nervous to submit to us for whatever reason, let us figure that out for ourselves.

"Telling your story in one paragraph is so hard for most authors to do. We want to give the background, explain the setting, introduce every character. But editors are good enough to realize there's more they will learn on a full reading. What they want is a snapshot. Who is the protagonist, what is she trying to do, and what stands in her way? The key is to create a vivid image that makes the editor want to learn more."

Rob Wells has a very interesting interview with his editor, Erica Sussman.

At one point in the interview, he asks her, "When Sara first sent you Variant, you initially passed on it (though you wrote a very helpful note, and offered to take a second look if revisions were made). Could you walk us through that whole process? What made you reject it at first, and what caused you to look at it again? (That seems pretty unusual in the submission process.) And, of course, why/how did you decide to accept it after the revisions?"

Erica gives a very helpful answer where she describes how the acquisitions committee works and what an editor needs to get a book through that process even if she loves it herself.

"First impressions are absolutely the most important in our process. If I'm concerned that a manuscript won't be able to immediately wow the room in its original state, but I love it and see a place for it, the best thing for me is to be able to take it through a revision and then show the even-stronger-manuscript to the team at Harper."

I think this is true all the way through the writing process. First impressions are huge and you need to do everything you can as an author to make your first impression great. Yes, you can always go back and polish later. But if the first impression you make isn't great. You might not get another chance.

Finally, in honor of Valentine's Day, Jennie Hansen wrote an interesting post on the difference between a romance and a love story. Here's a quote.

"If the story is primarily boy meets girl, they are attracted to each other even if they deny that attraction, an obstacle keeps them from getting together, they overcome the obstacle and live happily ever after, that's romance. If boy meets girl, their relationship deepens as they get to know each other, trust and respect for each other grows, they each make significant sacrifices for the other, they become stronger, better people because of their relationship, and they develop a lasting commitment to each other whether they foresee being together in this life or not, the story is probably a love story."

And later in the same post. "There are still a few romance novels around in the LDS market, but real love stories have almost disappeared. Recently a few authors have produced stylized romances which are fun to read, but leave no lasting imprint."

Interesting stuff. I understand what she is saying, and I agree that there is a difference between a fluffy romance and a love story. Right off the bat, I think about a post I did at my blog recently on my favorite romantic movie scenes. Fifty First Dates would definitely fall into what Jennie calls the romance category. While I think The Notebook is a true love story.

I'm not sure that I buy that there are no more LDS love stories though. I think the style of writing them may have changed. Publisher and readers ask for different things from their authors, and sometimes those constraints require the author to take a slightly lighter or more humorous approach. But I think there are still LDS authors writing stories about enduring relationships.

I'm a guy though, so what do I know? But I'd love to hear what you think. Do you see a difference between romance and love stories. And if so, what books written in the last couple of years by LDS authors do you think fall into each category?


Uhm, What's Your Name?

I have been reading many articles and blogs referring to cover and query letters. It is strongly suggested to address these to a specific editor or publisher rather than a “Dear Editor”. How do you go about finding the name of a specific editor when you are submitting to a large publishing company?

The short answer is: Most of the time, you can find it on their website. Look for their Submission Guidelines/How to Submit page. Then follow the instructions.

The long answer: Since I get variations of this question all the time, I thought I'd do a very detailed description of what to do and how to do it. First, since I just finished reading a paranormal fantasy, I decided that was the book I'd be shopping.

I googled Harper Collins because that was the publisher of the book I'd just finished.

By googling, I found the Harper Collins main website. I scrolled down to the very bottom of their page and found a link that said "Manuscript Submissions." Most of the time, the submission info is at the bottom of the main webpage but sometimes you have to dig a little.

Upon clicking that link, I discovered that you have to have an agent to submit to Harper Collins, unless you're submitting to Avon Romance. They included a link called "Avon Romance Submissions Guidelines."

Clicking that link took me to the Avon Romance main web page. Again I scrolled down to the very bottom and found a link that said "Submission Guidelines" in a pretty pink color.

Clicking that one took me to a page with lots of great information—which I read very carefully. Yes, they take Paranormal Romance in the 90-100K word count range. Good. Kept reading. Kept reading...

There at the very bottom was this message:

How To Submit A Manuscript

Please note Avon’s submission policy

To submit your romance or women’s fiction (only), please query first. You must query by e-mail. When you do so, please put QUERY in the subject line. Due to the overwhelming amount of Spam email we receive, subject lines that have manuscript titles often do not reach the editors. Your query should be brief, no more than a one-page description of your book. Do not send chapters or a full synopsis at this time. Also, please do not send attachmentsTHEY WILL NOT BE OPENED. You will receive a response — either a decline or a request for more material — in approximately six to eight weeks.

Please e-mail your query to avonromance@harpercollins.com.

They obviously do not care that you address them personally. Further research to find the name of the actual editor at Avon Romance is moot.

If I were a real author, with a real book to submit, I'd follow the instructions in that paragraph TO. THE. LETTER.


Before Sending Me a Question...

Updated 6:45 p.m.: Okay, I'm over my snit now so I've modified this post and taken out the attitude. But expect a post in the near future on not shooting yourself in the foot...


This is an advice blog where answers to your questions benefit all readers of the blog. I do not answer specific, personal questions via private e-mails.

It is assumed that all questions sent to me via e-mail are intended for publication on the blog, with all identifying information removed.

(Oh, and use this e-mail address.)

Lessons For Authors & Publishers—A Cautionary Tale

A few days ago, someone told me the Whitney Board had sent out a list of novels available to the Whitney Voting Academy as pdfs. These pdfs are guarded very closely and are programmed to self-destruct once you've read them—so they're not easy to get to. I was told I needed to request them.

I diligently checked my e-mail, thinking maybe I'd overlooked or accidentally deleted that e-mail. I needed it bad because despite my very generous offer to trade ad space for e-books, not everyone has taken me up on it and there are some titles I just can't find at my lovely local library.

Anyway. No e-mail. I was confused. Was I kicked off the Voting Academy? Did they not like me anymore? Was I such an opinionated slacker that they were distancing themselves from me? I almost cried.

Then—a lightbulb went off. I'd never let the PTBs at the Whitney Board know that I'd changed from that irritating hotmail address to the seriously awesome and nearly always functional gmail account.

I logged into the old account—something I haven't done since last October—and what-the-heck! there were 310 messages there!!! And thus begins my cautionary tale...

Lesson #1: ALWAYS update your contact information when you're working with an agent and/or publisher. Don't just post it on your blog, send them an e-mail with your new address.

Okay, so yes, about 1/4th of the e-mails were messages telling me I had new Twitter followers or someone inviting me to play a Facebook game. (I don't play those games, btw. Sorry)

And another 1/4th were from Cedar Fort's Chapter 1 Club. (Which is really an awesome idea and I wish other publishers did it because it makes it soooo easy to find their new releases. But CFI, just a tip. Add to every one of those club e-mails an easy link to and/or instructions for joining the club so that when I forward that to a friend, they don't have to google you to sign up.)

(Oh, and CFI is the ONLY publisher that has an easy-to-find, follow and get info from page on their website that features new releases. Some other publishers say they do, but it's either outdated or difficult to find.)

(CFI also has a second website with good info about their books.)

Lesson #2: Every single publisher in the world should have an up-to-date New Releases page!!! And so should authors—with links to excerpts and where to buy.

Okay. Uhm. Where was I? Oh, yes. A few of those e-mails informed me that I'd just inherited £100000000 (lucky me!).

But 32 of them were important and required action from me—action which was never taken because I didn't get the e-mails until last night.

Lesson #3: Occasionally check your old account (like weekly?) in case important people didn't get your message.

Among those 32 important e-mails, I found the e-mails from the Whitney Board. I also found some entries for the 2010 Christmas Story Contest that never made it because they went to the wrong e-mail address. This wasn't the case with me, but sometimes agents or publishers will create a special e-mail for certain types of submissions, and they'll never see the one you sent to their main e-mail address.

Lesson #4: ALWAYS, ALWAYS follow the posted directions and use the e-mail link in the post.

I also found e-mails about new book releases, and contests, and Questions! Fodder for my blog!! I missed them all!

Lesson #5: If a publisher, agent or blogger has a big pink button on the site that clashes so hideously with the colors of the blog in order to make it stand out and be visible to everyone and that button says "E-mail me at:" followed by an e-mail address in very large and visible letters, use that address!

And for bloggers, publishers and agents...

Lesson #6: When you change your e-mail address, in addition to posting large garish notices in your sidebar and changing the links in as many of the previous posts as you think is reasonable (like your FAQs pages), CHANGE THE ADDRESS ON YOUR BLOGGER PROFILE!

And thus ends my cautionary tale. Do as I say, not as I did.

All 32 of the important e-mails will receive a personal response and apology and action will be taken to correct the issue, when possible.


Fun Whitney Reading Counter

Someone from the Authors Incognito list e-mailed me and suggested using a fun little word count meter to show our Whitney Finalist reading progress.

13 / 35

I've posted mine in the sidebar.

To get one for yourself, go to http://svenja.atspace.com/wordmeter.html

You'll want to bookmark that site because you do have to go back there to generate code each time you update your count, but it's pretty easy to do.

Thanks for the tip!

Update: I do not know why the image in this post is freaking out. The one in my sidebar looks perfect!


Whitney Judging by Jeffrey S. Savage

I apologize for being so late with this. (And not just because I fear the wrath of an angry LDSPublisher.) Between my day job and the last two days at LTUE, I haven’t had a spare second. Then Rob Wells and Daron Fraley forced me to eat sushi with them and carry on long conversations about the future of LDS novels.

I highly recommend LTUE to any Utah writers—especially if you enjoy fantasy and Sci-Fi. Where else can you get a three day conference with tons of awesome authors for $25? Nowhere, I think. I wish I could say the same for eating sushi with Rob and Daron. Daron does embarrassing tricks with fish eggs and Rob flings rice everywhere.

But I am here and excited to discuss what I consider to be a very intriguing controversy. Or maybe controversy isn’t even the right word. Examination? Comparison? I’ll let you decide.

As I mentioned last week, author Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen asked the following question regarding the upcoming Whitney Awards.

In the past, I've created my own rubric . . . but who's to say what I feel are the important elements in a book are the same as those chosen by another author/reader? I absolutely love the Whitneys, and I will continue to support and help with it as much as I can, but I feel its current, unregulated judging process is much too subjective to really MEAN anything more than a popularity contest. But maybe popularity is what we want it to mean?

First of all, let me say that this discussion isn’t unique to LDS literature. Nor is it even limited to literature. There has always been the question of who should decide what is great art and how. Critics? Other artists? The buying public? Obviously a book that sells millions of copies isn’t necessarily a better work than one that sells only a few hundred. But at the same time, is it fair to ignore millions of people who show their appreciation for a movie, movie, or piece of art? That is the very why there are different awards in the movie industry.

In this case though, I don’t think the real question is about sales vs. quality as much as it is about how to judge a book. (Other than by its cover which you’ve already done here.)

When you read a book for enjoyment, you notice the characters, the voice, the plot, and, yes, the writing. What you don’t normally do is break it down and rate it on a scale of one to ten for clarity, character, beginning, grammar, etc. You either think, “I like that,” or, “that didn’t work for me.”

When you enter your work in a contest, you often expect the rubric, Ronda mentions. You know that your book will be judged on certain set criteria. If your plot is great, you may get ten points out of ten on plot. If you don’t understand basic grammar, you may lose ten points.

Which is better for an award like the Whitneys? Let’s start with a wonderful background on how the process works on Annette Lyon’s blog. And a great two part examination of one Whitney judge’s experience judging romance novels by Michele Holmes.

Notice that a book can be nominated for an award by anyone without a monetary stake in the book. (So no spouses or publishers.) Since it only requires five votes to be nominated, any LDS author with five friends and a qualifying book can get on the list.

In order to become a finalist, the book has to make it past a panel of five judges. Here’s where things get a bit tricky though. The five judges are not given a rubric by which they should judge the book. They must read all of the entries, and then they are asked a series of online, one-on-one caparison questions. Do you think book A is more deserving of a Whitney than book B? Do you think book B is more deserving of a Whitney than book G. Etc.

Because the judges are not composed of any one group or publisher, there is no inherent bias. Finalist have come from nationally published titles, self-published titles, and virtually every LDS Publisher. But because the judges are not given a set of standards or guidelines, they must choose the books that they find the most deserving. If they are offended by one aspect or another of the book, it can affect their voting.

This issue was brought up when The Lonely Polygamist was not selected as a finalist despite the fact that it was critically acclaimed by national reviewers. No one knows how and why each of the judges voted the way they did. But some have assumed that the graphic sex and language in the book were a major factor. There was an interesting discussion on the AML blog. Read Josi Kilpack’s response here and the ongoing discussion above and below it. On the other hand, there have been complaints in the past that some books that were voted in as finalists were too violent or graphic, or that subject matter was questionable.

Once the five finalists have been chosen, they are voted on by LDS authors, publishers, book store employees, etc. Again there are no guidelines other than that you must read all of the books in any category to vote in it. It’s up to you to decide which book you think is most deserving.

Is this a popularity contest? And if it is, is that bad? Here are the thoughts of a few LDS authors.

Annette Lyon:
Sure, it's impossible to avoid all subjectivity, but to say that an award is meaningless w/out a rubric is like saying the Oscars mean nothing. Or the Hugos or the Nebula or the Edgar or the Pulitzer any number of other awards, literary and otherwise, that have no rubric for the voting academy.

Granted, no system is perfect, but I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find a better system. The Whitneys take the best elements of several awards programs and combine them into something pretty cool.

Rob Wells:
The assumption that is built into the voting process is that, while it may be a popularity contest, the people who are voting are all experts (whether they're writers or retailers or publishers). So, while it's completely subjective and up to the whims of the voters, those voters are smart people who know what constitutes a well-written book.

So, yes, it's not perfect, but I think it's pretty darn good.

(On the flip side, I'm kind of horrified by the thought of a non-subjective measuring stick for novels. That kind of reminds me of the opening scene of DEAD POETS SOCIETY, where they are instructed to mathematically graph a poems greatness.) :)

Heather Moore:
I agree that the Whitney is way above a popularity contest. NY Times Bestselling authors are beat out all of the time. . . . It was really cool that GRAVITY VS THE GIRL won last year--a self published book that was just a gem to read. Also, in 2008, TRAITOR by Sandra Grey won Best Novel. It was her first book! So there was no popularity in that. I don't think any of the Storymakers even knew who she was, but she wrote a dang good story and was recognized for it.

I really, really think the Whitneys are about literary achievement and not necessarily a people's choice award. The books aren't voted by a bunch of raving fans, but professionals in the industry who make books their livelihood, and take it seriously.

Deanne Blackhurst:
. . . if I'm understanding it right, we sort of compare each book in a catagory in basic writing skills. So feasably I might not really enjoy a particular book but find that overall its writing qualities are the best of the five. Is that right? And the areas of writing skills that I use may not necessarily be the same another judge uses but that's okay because the idea is that with the number of judges it should end up being fairly well balanced.

What do you think? As a reader, would you rather know a book got an award because it scored highest in set areas or that more people liked it? As an author how would you like your book to be judged? Would you prefer more of a People’s Choice type award, or the favorite of the critics? And how do you feel about a book that might have incredible writing, but content that would probably offend most Mormons?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and remember there is still one more day of LTUE tomorrow. It’s not to late to come by.

Next week, how LDS authors and readers are using technology to connect with one another. And whether that’s a good or bad thing.


Friday Muse-ings by Jeffrey S Savage

I'm excited to announce a new column here at LDS Publisher. Jeff Savage will be visiting every Friday with his take on writing and other aspects of the publishing industry. Welcome, Jeff!

A little over ten years ago, I received a phone call all unpublished authors (and even most published ones) dream about. It was a publisher calling to tell me my manuscript had been accepted and would be coming out that fall. The moment you've always imagined, right?

Except the thing was, I hadn't imagined that moment. I was the CEO of a demanding internet company. I'd never attended a writer's conference, learned how to write a query letter, seen a publishing contract, tried to acquire an agent. I'd written a book, but that was as far as it went. I was excited, but also more than a little terrified.

Fortunately, I managed to contact one of the biggest names in LDS Publishing. No not LDSPublisher. She wasn't around at the time, or at least her blog wasn't, though I could really have used it. I e-mailed Chris Heimerdinger and he was incredibly helpful and gracious. He saved me from stepping into several major pitfalls.

Fast forward to now. There are so many more resources for LDS writers than there were back in the day. Blogs, columns, conferences, writers groups, critique groups, classes. It's so incredible to realize what we have access to. And, if you don't mind me saying, it's also a little scary. Right now I can Google (a word that wasn't even around back then) "publishing tips" and get more advice than I could probably read in a lifetime. And at least half of it will conflict with some other piece of advice.

And here I am adding another weekly column? Why?

A good friend asked me that last week, and I didn't have a perfect answer. There is no one clear reason. But there are several little ones that led me here.

As LDS writers it sometimes feels like we are happy little goldfish swimming in an ocean full of sharks, eels, barracudas, and other menaces. (I know, I'm combining my freshwater and saltwater metaphors. Blame my researcher, Igor.)

Do I write for the LDS market or the national market? Do I get an agent or not? Is my writing too smutty for the LDS market? Is it too tame for the national market? What publisher should I talk to? What should my contract look like? Should I join a critique group, go to a conference, hire an editor, send a box of chocolates to LDSPublisher? (Always a good idea.)

It can make you crazy.

The awesome thing is that the answers to all of those questions are out in the blogospehere.

A few months ago, I was thinking how nice it would be if someone combed through all the great LDS author and publisher blogs and collected those answers. It would also be great if they could kind of summarize and comment on what was out there. And even better, what if they reached out to editors, agents, publishers, bookstore employees and of course, authors to get their advice and opinions?

I'd want to read something like that. Maybe a weekly column that came out every Friday so I could peruse it over the weekend. If I wanted to read that kind of thing, maybe other LDS writers and readers would too. Of course, I have my own blog at www.jscottsavage.com. I post every Monday on the Six LDS Writers and a Frog blog with a group of wonderful and talented authors. But if I was going to do something like this, I wanted to do it on a site that wasn't tied to one or more authors, or even a single publisher. I wanted a level playing field that was already established as an awesome resource for LDS writers. To me LDSPublisher made perfect sense.

This may sound crazy after publishing eight books and being represented by two national agents, but I was more than a little nervous to approach LDSPublisher with my idea. Of course, she is charming, witty, smart, and, from what I've heard, quite the babe. But she is also a one woman wonder. Would she want me as a regular guest poster? Getting her e-mail answer of yes was almost as exciting as my first book contract. (And only slightly less lucrative.)

So here I am. My name is Jeff Savage. I've published six novels as Jeffrey S. Savage and two as J. Scott Savage. I've published with Covenant, Deseret Book, and Shadow Mountain. I was previously represented by Bookend Literary, and am now with Dystel and Godrich. I've taught dozens of workshops and lots of classes. I love the life of an LDS author and hope to keep doing it until they pry the keyboard out of my lifeless fingers. I get cranky if I haven't written in a few days and am opinionated to a fault. But if there is one thing I am committed to, it is paying back to new authors the help Chris gave me back when I needed it.

Now that I've used all my ink and space on who I am and why I'm going to be here for hopefully many more Fridays to come, I don't have a ton of space left for the column itself. But I will give you a taste of what's coming next Friday.

Recently on an author list I am a part of, LDS author Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen asked the following question regarding the upcoming Whitney Awards.

"In the past, I've created my own rubric . . . but who's to say what I feel are the important elements in a book are the same as those chosen by another author/reader? I absolutely love the Whitneys, and I will continue to support and help with it as much as I can, but I feel its current, unregulated judging process is much too subjective to really MEAN anything more than a popularity contest. But maybe popularity is what we want it to mean?"

I absolutely LOVED this question and I asked Ronda if I could use her quote here. It really is a great question. What makes a novel award-worthy? Is it the quality of writing? The story? How it makes you feel when you get done? What if a novel up for an LDS award is incredibly well crafted but contains elements that might offend many LDS readers? Does not creating specific judging criteria lessen the award? Should we vote with our hearts or our heads?

Next Friday I will link to some interesting and controversial opinions, as well as posting the comments of LDS authors, publishers, and bookstore employees. So start thinking about how you judge books and see if your ideas agree with what I find out. Until then, have a great writing week and I'll check back in next Friday.


Sales Tax on Book Sales

I have a question. Do you know if, as a newly published author with a lovely new website, do I have to get a Sales and Use Tax number [from my state] to be able to sell books right off of my site? I'm not sure who to ask about sales tax on the web. Thank you so much for all of your invaluable knowledge.

Yep. If your state has a sales tax and expects you to collect it on items sold over the Internet, then yes, you're going to need a tax number to do business.

Most states will have a website that explains the rules and how to do it. For Utah, you go here.

For other states, google your state name and state sales tax. Example: "California State Sales Tax".

If you don't want to deal with this, it may be easier to put links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and/or your publisher.


Who's the Best?

I'm a writer, and after I put together my proposal I felt that maybe I should look into the world of LDS publishing because of the subject matter in my book. Which is the best publisher for LDS authors?

First, if it's fiction, you'll need more than a proposal. You'll need the full manuscript. If it's non-fiction, a proposal may be enough (check the publishers' websites for submission guidelines) but you'll need to be able to show sample chapters soon after, if they're interested.

Now for the rest of your question. It depends on your book, it's content, and what you want to do with it.

Deseret Book is generally considered the "best" publisher for LDS authors of books with LDS content because they've been in business the longest. They are very well established in the minds of the customer and they have a reputation for good products. They also have the largest distribution network for LDS books AND a zillion of their own stores.

For getting your book on LDS bookstore shelves and in front of the LDS reader, Deseret Book is arguably the "best"—if they accept your book.

But. Here's the downside.

Because DB is at the top of the list in the minds of most LDS authors and readers, they also receive the most submissions and, therefore, send out the most rejections. The competition for acceptance at DB is fierce.

After an author is rejected from Deseret Book (I'm not saying that you WILL be rejected, just talking probabilities based on numbers), there are quite a few other LDS publishers to consider. I am not going to recommend any here. You need to do your own research.

Start by Googling "LDS Publishers" and see what pops up. Talk to published LDS authors about their experiences—which publishers they'd recommend and which they didn't care for. Then find a match for you and submit!


Whitney Finalists Announced

I'm a day late, but here we go...


Band of Sisters Blink of an Eye The Cross Gardener Finding Mercie Lucky Change
Annette Lyon Gregg Luke Jason Wright Blaine Yorgason Susan Law Corpany


Alma The Younger Oh Say Can You See? The Sheen on the Silk The Silence of God Trespass
H.B. Moore L.C. Lewis Anne Perry Gale Sears Sandra Grey


Courting Miss Lancaster Cross My Heart The Legend of Shannonderry Luck of the Draw Meg’s Melody
Sarah Eden Julie Wright Carol Warburton Rachael Renee Anderson Kaylee Baldwin


Cold as Ice Crossfire Murder by Design A Time to Die Wrong Number
Stephanie Black Traci Hunter Abramson Betsy Brannon Green Jeffrey Savage Rachelle J. Christensen


Imprints Mr. Monster Pathfinder The Scorch Trials The Way of Kings
Rachel Ann Nunes Dan Wells Orson Scott Card James Dashner Brandon Sanderson

Youth Fiction—Speculative

Fablehaven 5 Matched Paranormalcy The Forbidden Sea The Fourth Nephite
Brandon Mull Ally Condie Kiersten White Sheila Nielson Jeffrey Savage

Youth Fiction—General

Glimpse Missing In Action My Double Life The Healing Spell Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me
Carol Lynch Williams Dean Hughes Janette Rallison Kimberly Griffiths Little Kristen Chandler

Congratulations everyone! Looking forward to reading every one of these books!


February 2011 Prize Sponsors

Last month's prize winners announced HERE.

Please take a moment to learn more about our wonderfully generous sponsors.

Gifted by Karey White

Susan and Brent Weller have been married for several years and have been unable to have children. They adopt Anna, a beautiful baby girl orphaned in a terrible car accident. As Anna grows, Susan and Brent discover that she’s blessed with unusual gifts that both bless and complicate their lives.

When Anna starts school, she meets Kelsey, a scared, poor and terribly neglected little girl who finds love and acceptance from Anna and her parents. As the years pass, Susan and Brent do their best to provide Anna with a normal, happy childhood, even as they feel a responsibility to protect her from having her special gifts exploited. But with maturity comes independence and Anna begins to make choices that threaten to shatter Susan and Brent’s happy and comfortable life. Will Susan and Brent be able to protect their daughter or will her choices change all their lives forever?

Karey White is the oldest of eleven children. She and her husband have four children. Karey says, "I've been writing since Jr. High, when I was hired by a county newspaper to do a Happenings column about our little town of about 300 people. I got paid by the word so every week I called every family in town and got their news. It wasn't high-brow journalism but the column earned me a little spending money."

Gifted is Karey's debut novel and it will be released by Cedar Fort this month.

Impractical Grace by John S. Bushman

A marriage in ashes, a heartbreaking accident, and an excruciating childhood—is there any limit to God's power to heal, strengthen, and transform?

Bishop North helps the members of his ward as they try to overcome life's challenges.

Take part in these doctrinal insights to the Savior's grace and love in this compelling novel full of true-to-life stories of hardship and hope.

John S. Bushman is thrilled to be the father of five, the son of two, the brother of seven, and the husband of one. He grew up in Tempe, Arizona and served a mission in the Philippines. Later he got his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s in Instructional Technology from ASU. Arizona is also where he met the love of his life Tina, fell in love, and they married.

His family then moved to St. Goeorge where he worked as a full time Seminary instructor for ten years. Since then they have moved to Washington State where he teaches Institute and coordinates the early morning Seminary program. He loves teaching and studying the scriptures with the youth of the Church.

One of his other passions is writing. January 2011 will bring the publication of Impractical Grace which has been in creation for the last 10 years. It is a fantastic book that teaches the most important things in life through the vehicle of a great story.

Isabelle Webb: The Pharoah's Daughter by N.C. Allen

After her gripping escapade in India, former Pinkerton spy Isabelle Webb launches a new adventure as she pursues a steamship en route to Egypt carrying two young stowaways: her teenaged ward, Sally Rhodes, and an unlucky girl named Alice Bilbey. Arriving in Suez, Isabelle and her companions recover the girls and unexpectedly encounter Isabelle’s own guardian from her youth, Genevieve Montgomery. Isabelle and her friends decide to join up with Genevieve upon discovering that she is funding an expedition to a burial site near Luxor with an entourage of Egyptology experts.

Unaware that their nemesis, Thaddeus Sparks, is also in Egypt as part of a jewel-hunting cadre, Isabelle’s group joins the expedition under ominous signs: a prophetic warning from a stranger, threats along the Nile River, and birthmarks that burn when the rare Jewel of Zeus is nearby. At the excavation site—a cave rumored to be the tomb of a pharaoh’s disgraced daughter—tension builds when several newcomers arrive. And as circumstances shift with the sands, Isabelle finds that some of the royal treasure in the ruthless pharaoh’s desert was buried for lethal reasons.

Nancy Campbell Allen has written and published 10 books in a combination of historical and contemporary fiction. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling and spending time with family and friends. She has three children, ranging in age from 18 to 6, and one husband, who makes her laugh. She lives in Ogden, Utah.

Perilous by Tamara Hart Heiner

Jaci Rivera has plans for her sophomore year: go to regionals with the track team, make the honor roll, and eat too much pizza with her best friends, Callie and Sara. Her biggest concern is Amanda, the pushy girl who moved in a few months ago.

What she doesn't plan for is catching a robber red-handed, or being kidnapped. The desperate thief drags her and her friends 2,000 miles across the Canadian border. They escape from his lair, only to find that he has spies and agents watching their path home, waiting to intercept them and take them back.

Then Jaci finds out something about her family. Somethings which irrevocably connects her to the kidnapper, and makes her question their chances of escape.

About Tamara Hart Heiner: I live in Arkansas with my husband and three children. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English. I teach English in the mornings and spend the rest of the day avoiding laundry and other chores, all in the name of parenting. Sometimes I get to sit down in front of the computer and write for a few hours. And if my husband's lucky, I make something for dinner besides macaroni and cheese.

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