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Misc. Updates

Misc. Updates

by Mike Duran · 18 comments

As part of my series on indie presses: On Monday, I’ll be posting my interview with Jason Sizemore. Jason is an author, editor and publisher of  Apex Publications, one of the premier small press publishers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Apex went from being just a small print zine, to a pro-level online zine, to books, and now ebooks. Very excited about this interview. As an added bonus, one lucky commenter will be selected to receive a digital subscription to Apex Magazine for one year. Please be sure to check back next week.  (You can see my last interview, with managing editor of Port Yonder Press Chila Woychik, HERE.)

Also, the Inspy Awards are gearing up for their second year, announcing some new categories for 2011. Inspy is unique in that it recognizes faith-driven literature without the more conservative constraints of the mainstream Christian market. Last year, I interviewed founder Amy Riley about the awards, what makes them different, and her perspectives on the state of Christian fiction publishing. You can find that interview HERE. Nominations for the 2011 INSPYs will open on May 16th.

On that note, I wanted to give a shout out to writer friend, and rising star, Gina Holmes for her recent Christy Award nomination. Gina’s Novel Journey (where I contribute monthly commentary), was once again selected as one of Writer’s Digest’s Best Writing Sites for Writers. In fact, I interviewed Gina way back in April 2006, when she was less famous (but still considerably sassy). Gina is nominated for Best First Novel. You can find the entire list of nominees HERE. Way to go, Gina!

Finally, I had so much fun with my recent Genre Challenge that I’m thinking about doing it again. If you follow this blog, you know I am often critical of both Christian Fiction and Christian Romance. In seeking accord, I offered to read one Christian Romance novel and review it. That novel was Redeeming Love (you can see my review, and the ensuing slugfest, HERE). Well, believe it or not, I had a lot of fun and, in an attempt to better understand the market (and shut up my crtics :) ), I want to do it again. But I need your help in deciding a genre. So, if I had to read and review one CBA ___________ novel, what should it be? Here’s the genres I’m thinking about:

  • Young Adult
  • Fantasy
  • Amish
  • Contemporary
  • Science Fiction

Looking forward to your suggestions. And make sure to come back Monday for my interview with Jason Sizemore and a chance to win a year subscription to Apex Magazine. Have a great weekend!

 

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah May 13, 2011 at 5:42 AM

Thanks for the INSPYs shoutout! We’re very excited about this year and hope that we can get a bunch of good nominations in the coming weeks.

As for your genre challenge, I would go for Young Adult and read My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay. I won’t get upset if you don’t like it (I swear!) but I truly enjoyed the story and I’ve found that general market YA readers also respond well. And it’s not CBA but Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr (and the INSPY winner from last year) is another one I like recommending as well.

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Mike Duran May 13, 2011 at 5:47 AM

Thanks, Deb. I have been interested in reading a YA novel, but wouldn’t know where to start. And I’m happy to prop the INSPYs. They’re a refreshing idea. Blessings!

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Jenni N May 13, 2011 at 5:46 AM

I suggest Angel Fall by Coleman Luck. It’s fantasy/horror, and I found it to be outstanding in a collection of not-so-brilliant Christian fantasy. One of my favorite new books.

I also suggest Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet, which I put on par with Angel Fall…. just brilliant writing, in my opinion! And it’s about color, which is very cool. Fantasy genre.

And I’ve heard good things about Firebird by Kathy Tyers – the new CBA edition – but haven’t actually read it yet. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it if you were to read it! Science fiction genre.

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Jessica Thomas May 13, 2011 at 6:26 AM

Amish! Definitely! I don’t have a suggestion though.

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Deborah May 13, 2011 at 6:34 AM

eh. i’ve read quite a few of the Amish books and while I do like some, the only ones I would subject Mike to read would be so I have justification that I can’t possibly be the only person who didn’t like the book. and i’m not that mean of a person.

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Jessica Thomas May 13, 2011 at 6:31 AM

Oh, but if you were to choose science fiction (though Amish would be funnier), A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Neitz is excellent. Highly recommended.

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Mike Duran May 13, 2011 at 6:35 AM

Jessica, I did read a Kindle sample chapter of A Star Curiously Singing and thought it was very well-written. Thanks for the suggestions.

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Chizuru February 10, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Yikes, my nmbeur is pitiful, and I have no excuse! I have never thought about scheduling a time to read. Thanks for the post!

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Virginia Hernandez May 13, 2011 at 12:51 PM

I’m going to have to go with Amish. I’d love to hear what all the rage is over. A TON of women I know read them. I haven’t read any, so I can’t suggest one.
If you don’t do that, pick sci-fi. I’m looking for a good one for my book club :)
Also, thanks for blogging.

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Brenda Anderson May 13, 2011 at 4:19 PM

If you take a gamble & go Amish, I’d recommend Levi’s Will by Dale Cramer. In my opinion, Cramer is one of the premier authors in Christian fiction.

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Alan Oathout May 14, 2011 at 7:01 AM

I’d second that opinion, Brenda.

I liked his first novel, “Sutter’s Cross”..and loved his second, about hard rock mining, “Bad Ground”. Publisher’s Weekly even praised his writing, while delivering a backhanded slap to the field in general: “Contemporary offerings such as this well-crafted debut from Cramer give the evangelical Christian fiction market reason to hope that the term ‘excellent CBA novel’ is not an oxymoron.”

Sadly, David Long reported on his blog that, while Cramer garnered a lot of critical applause for those first two efforts, the sales numbers didn’t follow.

I find it very interesting that Dale switched genres from Contemporary to Amish. Would love to ask him if that was largely a decision made for professional reasons, or if the Amish world attracted him artistically.

Haven’t read any, but I would imagine that if anyone could pull off an Amish novel that approached literature, he could. I will definitely check Levi’s Will out.

That would be my vote for your next review project, Mike. Spec-Fic fans talk a lot about Amish, but very few of us (myself included) have really examined the work.

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Mike Duran May 14, 2011 at 7:10 AM

Alan, I have heard lots of good things about Levi’s Will. But as you mention, I haven’t heard a lot of good things about the genre as a whole. Which makes me wonder if reading Cramer’s book would give me a good sampling of Amish titles, or just be a good book that happens to be Amish.

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Alan Oathout May 14, 2011 at 8:07 AM

Yeah, that’s an interesting consideration. You picked “Redeeming Love,” in part, because it was considered by many to represent the “gold standard” of Christian romance. I wonder what the equivalent counterpart would be for the Amish category?

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Jason Brown May 13, 2011 at 7:16 PM

I’d say science-fiction. And interesting info on Inspy.

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Kevin Lucia May 14, 2011 at 5:24 AM

Glad Jason was able to do an interview! He’s a stand-up guy, and Apex puts out wonderful product. Will miss seeing him at Context this year.

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Patrick Todoroff May 14, 2011 at 6:04 AM

Another vote for Sci Fi.

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Rebecca LuElla Miller May 17, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Well, Sci Fi seems to be winning out, but I vote for fantasy. I’d say read Blaggard’s Moon by George Bryan Polivka though it’s only mildly fantasy.

If you go with YA, then combine it with fantasy and read Jonathan Rogers’s The Charlatan’s Boy.

Becky

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Gina Holmes May 20, 2011 at 12:28 AM

Thanks for the mention, Mike. We’ve got a good graduating group. So proud to be part of that tribe :) I have to vote for Amish, because it’s just funny to think of you reading that. You’re too close to sci-fi/fantasy so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for you. Glad you finally read Redeeming Love btw. Fair review. That book made me realize I could write for the Christian market despite the tunnels I’ve crawled out of. You’re a sport to do that.

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