Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wind of the Spirit Cover at Last!!!!

[Sound of horns blowing vigorously] TAH DAH!!!!!!

I have a new baby! The much-anticipated final version of the Wind of the Spirit cover arrived today!!! Can you tell I’m excited?! It’s a good thing there aren’t any limits on the number of exclamation points you can use in a document, because I’d be locking up the computer. LOL!

You’ve all seen the 2 photos we started out with. And I know several of you mentioned that you prefer covers without any figures on them. But . . . well, I had this vision.

I was not at all sure it was possible to do what I wanted to do. I certainly had no idea how to get it done. But just at that moment, the Lord led Dineen Miller to e-mail me. She asked if I needed another designer, and not knowing much about Dineen, I took a look at her Web site. I was impressed, to say the least. I needed an ad for Sheaf House, so I hired her to do it. And not only did she do a terrific job, but she mentioned she’d love to work on book covers. She hadn’t done any yet, but she was eager to give it a try.

Thinking about Dineen’s portfolio, I threw this project at her. I had 2 images of a stormy sky and some really crazy ideas. A whole long page of them. I was sure she was going to think I was out of my mind, say something polite, and tiptoe quietly out the back door. Instead, to my shock and delight, she responded that she was sure we could do this!

And she delivered. The process took a couple of twists and turns, but . . . take a look. A picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it?

Needless to say, I’m thrilled! This image doesn’t show the spine, but it’s as cool as the front. Dineen won’t get to the back until after the conference, but it’ll be made up of the 2nd image nicely ghosted to allow the text to show well against it. Maybe a couple of other fancy things, who knows?

All I can say is, WOW!! From a design standpoint, this is one of the best covers I’ve ever seen! It ought to stand out on a book table or shelf in a bookstore, don’t you think?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Schedules and Changes

I apologize for going to long between posts! I’ve been deep into production on both Wind of the Spirit and our other spring release, My Son, John, by multi-published author Kathi Macias. And my good buddy Peg Phifer has been doing a top-down redesign of the Sheaf House Web site. Boy, does it look pretty now!

On top of all that, I’m trying to get ready for the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference, which takes place in Minneapolis September 18-21. The feature of the conference is a humongous book signing by 127 authors that will take place at the Mall of America in Bloomington on Saturday the 20th from 1 to 3 p.m. There will be lots of giveaways and a number of author panels. I’ll be signing copies of One Holy Night. So there’s lots to plan for.

Two friends and I, who don’t much like to fly, chose the route of adventure and are taking a road trip. Three ladies and all their baggage in a car on a two-day trip to a writers conference and back again just sounds like tooooo much fun! We’re leaving the 17th and planning to make it home the 22nd. If all goes well. And with 3 women driving cross-country in a car, you just never know . . .

With all that on the agenda, I’ve allowed my blogging to lag. To get everyone caught up I have an announcement. I hate to tell my loyal readers this because I know you’ve been looking forward to January when you can finally get your hands on Wind of the Spirit. But . . .

I’ve had to postpone the release until March 1.

I can hear your collective groans, and I apologize profusely! I feel terrible! And no, we’re not having any problems with production. Making the original date isn’t an issue—we’re well on the way to having this puppy ready—but my distributor thinks March is a much better release date, and pushing it back gives the sales reps more time to get it into bookstores. As a publisher I have to set aside my authorly eagerness to get my book out to the public at last and heed their wise counsel.

However, although Wind of the Spirit won’t officially release until March, I promise the books will be in the warehouse and ready to ship in February! Now, if we can just persuade the online sites to get it in stock and ship it early, we’ll be in fine shape. In the meantime, if you haven’t been on my Web site ( and read the excerpt posted there, hop on over and get a first look at what’s coming up!

Exciting news: I’ll have the final cover to share with you soon! The preliminary my designer, Dineen Miller, sent me is totally awesome! I’m more than thrilled with it. Everything I wanted in my wildest fantasy is there! Sometimes the stars align just right. Of course, we all know who rules those stars!

I have several more endorsementsI want to share, but first, here’s a review written by blogger Christina Gustafson’s 13-year-old daughter Katy after she read Daughter of Liberty and Native Son.

The American Patriot Series intrigued me from the very beginning. I’m a “picky reader” and usually have to give a book two to three chapters before “getting hooked”; however, I only had to read a paragraph and found myself wanting more. Elizabeth Howard’s parents are Tories through-and-through, but Elizabeth doesn’t quite agree with them. So, when Elizabeth meets British General Carleton, things become humorous and exciting. This all leads to a shocking and exciting ending.

Native Son is mainly about General Jonathan Carleton. Carleton is sent into Native American territory to make a peace treaty, while Elizabeth is to stay behind and continue her work [as a spy]. Once again, Mrs. Hochstetler leads us to a wonderfully surprising ending. The American Patriot Series is not only exciting and full of surprises, but it is also inspiring. J. M. Hochstetler writes in her book that no matter what crime we commit, no matter what we’ve done, God is there for us and He loves us unconditionally. He will always forgive us and help us start again.

I must admit I was quite disappointed when I reached the end of
Native Son. Not because of the ending, but because I’ll have to wait until 2009 to read the third book in this series. (Be sure to check out the American Patriot Series Blog for more information!) Thank you Mrs. Hochstetler for giving me two of the most enjoyable books that I have read. I will surely read this series again and again.

Not only am I very pleased with the review, but I’m quite impressed with this young woman’s writing ability. I’m always especially delighted to hear from students who have felt this crucial era in our history come to life for them in my books. That’s my goal, and it’s more than wonderful to get feedback that I’ve succeeded in showing students how thrilling, absorbing, and relevant to our lives history really is. You’ll find Christina’s blogs at Mustard Seeds and ...And Everything Else.

Here’s another great endorsement for Wind of the Spirit from our own Edgy Inspirational Author herself, Michelle Sutton, author of It’s Not About Me.

“Wind of the Spirit carries you away—literally—to another time and place. The perfect combination of setting and fabulous wording pulled me into the story, and the emotional scenes kept me turning the pages. This story doesn’t drag but keeps building while educating the reader about history at the same time. In regards to sensuality and tension—move over Deeanne Gist—cause Hochstetler goes places most CBA authors can’t. However, the tension is so well done and is so beautifully written, I wouldn’t change a thing. The author shows love as the holy experience it truly is . . . when it occurs the way God intended. I highly recommend this story. I couldn’t put it down.”

And Robin Lee Hatcher also graciously endorsed this volume:

“Ms. Hochstetler has filled the pages of this book with many details of the period, taking her readers back in time. If you like sweeping historical sagas, Wind of the Spirit deserves to be on your bookshelf.”

If you happen to be in the Minneapolis area on September 20, be sure to stop by at the book signing, and look for me! I'd love to chat with you!