Posts Tagged ‘Christian Fiction’

Do Authors Reap Full Benefit When Characters are Relinquished?

I am frequently asked, “Paul, if there are eight Love Comes Softly books, why are there eleven DVDs?” (Seriously, complete strangers walk up to me on the street and ask me this all the time.)

The answer is that if you read the fine print, the extra stories, including the Christmas special, were based on characters from the Love Comes Softly books. Or the disclaimer will state something like inspired by characters created by Janette Oke.

When authors relinquish rights for screenplays to be adapted from their characters, it can lead to the current situation where When Calls the Heart, in the Wikipedia graphic below — click to link to the page — is now up to 47 episodes.

To make matters more confusing for retailers, a few of the videos are based on episodes which aired in different configurations or under different titles during the Hallmark broadcast series.

…What got me thinking about this was looking at some of the different spinoff products which have emerged. Edify Films has water bottles, a 20-oz cup, mugs, and a colouring book; Word also has a colouring book; and Ellie Claire has a journal. Does Ms. Oke get full royalties for these, or is that part of what she relinquished in licensing the film company to adapt the characters?

Janette Oke revolutionized Christian fiction. Her work stands as groundbreaking on a short list of game changing Christian fiction authors which includes Catherine Marshall, Frank Peretti and the LaHaye/Jenkins team. Their work continues what was begun by John Bunyan, C. S. Lewis, Charles Sheldon and Lew Wallace.

Today, with movie content providers hungry for content, the best of the best novels are being mined for screenplay potential, and where the film industry is involved, licensing of tie-in products quickly follows. The Kendrick Brothers probably did this best with a variety of spinoff products related to Fireproof, Facing the Giants, Courageous, and War Room. But there are also God’s Not Dead journals, mugs and t-shirts.

How the money all gets divided is above my pay grade, but I’m sure the royalty distribution would be fascinating to observe. Better yet would be to see the products which were rejected as tacky, exploitative, and inappropriate. According to Phil Vischer, when it came to Veggie Tales there were some rather incredible proposals which fortunately never made it to your bookstore or mine.

Still, the writer in me wants to see the creators maintain as much control over their characters and settings as possible.

Though not tied to a movie, this is the one tie-in product which made us blush. It was the summer of 2012, the venue was Zellers department stores across Canada, and the vendor was American Greetings.


Ted Dekker Returns to Christian-Owned Publishing Imprint

After several years with Center Street and Faithwords, both divisions of mega publishing company Hachette Book Group, the third largest trade and educational publisher in the world, Christian suspense author Ted Dekker is back with a Christian owned company, Revell Books.

The genre is often referred to as speculative fiction, because the plot lines can include supernatural contrivances; elements which are not part of the natural world. In a recent article on Christian fiction, Revell told Publisher’s Weekly that The 49th Mystic “portrays characters who live in two worlds and must recover five ancient seals to save themselves from destruction;” adding that, “The author of more than 40 books and winner of many awards, Dekker has sold more than 10 million copies of his books worldwide.”

Indeed a look at the Revell catalog shows that they have continued to up their game in suspense publishing with a strong presence in the category including work by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason, Lisa Harris, Irene Hannon and more; as well as science fiction titles by Frank Peretti, Bill Myers, Alton Gansky, Angela Hunt, Thomas Locke and more.

A press release discussed the new title:

“We love to publish a gripping suspense novel, and Ted Dekker sets the highest standard in that category,” said Dwight Baker, president of Baker Publishing Group. “Our Revell team has prepared for many years to address this exciting new challenge to represent Ted Dekker and serve his many readers.”

Andrea Doering, executive editor for Revell, stated, “Publishing Ted Dekker’s work has been a goal for our team at Revell, and we’re thrilled to partner with him; Ted’s talent for creating an intense, richly layered story that stays with readers is just incredible.”

Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing David Lewis, added, “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement to publish Ted Dekker’s novels. His many previous novels have thrilled, entertained and scared readers, who love his writing as do we. We look forward to continuing with his current fans and to finding new readers for his books.

The 49th Mystic releases in May.

Eric Wright Completes Mystery Trilogy

I’m not accustomed to the place where I grew up figuring into books in my store, but there it was, a Toronto reference to a character “driving down the Don Valley Parkway.” But the story gets even closer to home because author Eric Wright is also a customer at my store and his daughter and her husband attend the same church as we do.

After a series of non-fiction works, Wright switched to fiction and while the three stories have quite different settings, they are linked through Toronto reporter Josh Radley. Here’s how our local paper introduced Rust Bucket, the latest book in the series:

The very real issue of human slavery is told through the fictional adventures of protagonist Josh Radley in Eric E. Wright’s new novel Rust Bucket.

Interviewed recently from his home, Wright pointed out this is the third story in a Josh Radley trilogy, following The Lightning File and Captives of Minara.

In The Lightning File, Radley is a reporter for a Toronto paper.

“In the course of it, he gets fired, so he goes on to work freelance,” Wright said — and this freedom gives him ample scope to get involved more deeply in the adventures he encounters.

In Rust Bucket, he puts off urgent cancer treatment in order to pursue the story of a beached freighter that contains not only an alarming cache of explosives and drugs but also a human cargo bound for enslavement in factories, farms and brothels.

The press release for Wright’s book said that an estimated 24-million people worldwide are exploited by unethical businesses of all kinds. The human cargo in the freighter Josh Radley investigates includes a tribal girl from Pakistan whom Josh and his wife happen to know.

As it happens, Wright and his wife lived in Pakistan for 16 years, while he worked as a missionary teacher.

“Although we normally think of Pakistan as a Muslim country, there’s a minority of Christians who need ministry,” he said.

“I started an extension training program and, in the course of that, I learned more about their culture.”

The slave-labour problem seems to be much more widespread than one would like to think, Wright said. “Probably not as much in Canada, although criminal elements are realizing — you sell cocaine, you sell it once. With human beings, you can use them again and again and again, and it’s very profitable for business owners and brothels. There was a lot of it in Pakistan, landlords taking advantage of poor people who were sort of enslaved.”

His dedication is “to all those who struggle to end human trafficking as well as the victims of this horrific crime.” …

…continue reading the second half of the story at Northumberland Today

For order information visit

We previously covered releases of other books by Eric Wright here including Riptide and Captives of Minara.

Karen Kingsbury Receives Honorary Doctorate from Liberty U

On Friday, May 12th as part of the Baccalaureate Ceremony, an honorary Doctor of Letters degree was conferred on Christian fiction author Karen Kingsbury by Liberty University in Virginia, the school founded by Jerry Falwell. (See this link for a 45-second video) This degree, according to Wikipedia, “in some countries, may be considered to be beyond the Ph.D. and equal to the Doctor of Science.”

Karen is an Adjunct Professor at the school, and four of her five sons are Liberty alumni. For the full introduction by David Nasser and acceptance by Karen to the school and graduating class, go to 31:31 in the video below and watch to 37:20.

Liberty News reported that at the same ceremony:

Five individuals received honorary doctorates during the service. Wallace and Eleanor Turnbull were presented with honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees for their missional work in Haiti and their many years of work with Haitian Liberty students through the Turnbull Foundation. New York Times best-selling author Karen Kingsbury received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree not only for her prolific works, which have been adapted for television and film, but for how she has impacted the Liberty student body as a parent of Liberty students and as an adjunct professor, teaching master classes on English, writing, publishing, and research. Campus pastor and Senior Vice President of Spiritual Development David Nasser received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree and was recognized for his years of successful ministry and for leading Liberty’s student body in missions and service. [James] Robison was also presented an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.


Revell Signs Ted Dekker

We don’t normally report signings here, as many of you subscribe to various trade newsletters anyway. But this one from Publisher’s Weekly (PW) got our attention.

Ted Dekker, the author of over 40 novels including Thr3e, Obsessed, and the Circle Series, signed a multi-book deal with Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. The acquisition signals a growing interest in the suspense category, according to Andrea Doering, executive editor at Revell.

“We publish all genres, but we made a collective decision two years ago to ramp up all suspense acquisitions, including romantic suspense,” she told PW…

…Dekker, who has sold over 10 million copies of his mystery, thriller, and fantasy novels worldwide according to Revell, has been published by Worthy, Thomas Nelson, Center Street, and others over the past two decades. The world rights deal with Revell is for two books with the option of two more by Dekker…

Read the full article at Publisher’s Weekly.

HT: Tim Underwood


Lynette Eason on Writing

Without WarningLynette Eason fields questions on her writing process from an interviewer who has already read Without Warning which releases August 2nd.


  • Without Warning begins with a twist in the very first chapter. Was the first scene the most difficult one to write?

Believe it or not, the first scene is usually the easiest scene out of the entire book for me to write. I think it’s because I visualize it in its entirety before I even type the first word. That’s not to say I don’t go back and tweak as needed, but my first scene generally stays the first scene. I’ve only had a couple of books where I’ve scrapped the first scene and started over. Not too bad considering I have almost forty stories under my belt!

Click here to read the interview.

Christian Fiction Doing Just Fine, Thank You

CBD logoAnyone who has heard the rumors of the demise of Christian fiction — both in terms of losses to the eBook market, and overall declining sales — need look no further than the recent CBD Spring fiction catalogue to see that the genre is alive and well.

This 80-page, full color, glossy publication is a testimony to the health that at least this one company sees in Christian fiction, and one that would make an excellent showpiece for this category, were it not for the source. Let’s face it, long before the internet, CBD was sucking the life out of many local Christian bookstores, and continues to do so to this very day.

Even here at Christian Book Shop Talk, a trade blog, CBD advertising often appears in the space following an article. Their reach is pervasive and relentless.

Still, I find the fiction flyer encouraging. I suspect that at 80 packed pages, this is their largest advertising support of fiction authors and publishers; books and series. I also learned about some titles which my sales reps may have mentioned but I had missed: A new James Rubart (The Long Journey to Jake Palmer, Thomas Nelson) coming in July along with a new Richard Mawbry (Medical Judgement, Abingdon) along with new products by Lynette Eason and Judith Miller at Baker Book Group.

If you can get your hands on one, it makes a great inventory checklist as you head into the summer and fall seasons.





An All-Time Christian Fiction Top Ten

November 5, 2015 1 comment

Lists are ubiquitous on the internet, but sometimes one gets us curious and sparks discussion. Such is the case with this list at Newsmax. There’s a write-up for each title, we’ve just listed the books in question here. Click the title below to see more.

10 Most Popular Works of Christian Fiction

  1. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
  2. Christy – Catherine Marshall
  3. The End of the Affair – Graham Greene
  4. Gilead – Marilynne Robinson
  5. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis
  6. Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
  7. Love Comes Softly – Janette Oke
  8. The Man Who Was Thursday – G. K. Chesterton
  9. Wise Blood – Flannery O’ Connor
  10. This Present Darkness – Frank Peretti

So what do you think? What about Les Miserables by Victor Hugo? Or Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers? And wouldn’t you want to include Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan in a list like this? Am I being too Evangelical to want to include In His Steps by Charles Sheldon? Or The Singer by Calvin Miller? Or Hannah Hurnard’s Hind Feet on High Places? How about a nod to Beverly Lewis for kick-starting the Amish genre within Christian fiction? Or was that Wanda Brunstetter?

In a larger store environment, do you think a display of this top ten (or an amended version) would work for Christmas?

Again, click the title to read the full comments for each title at Newsmax.

Kevin Leman Crosses Over to Fiction Genre

New from Baker Books:

It’s time for Will to forge his own path.
But the force that drives him to greatness could also destroy him–and his family.

As the firstborn son of an old and powerful family, William Jennings Worthington VI knows what it’s like to be under pressure. Groomed from birth with the relentless message that he was destined for greatness, Will has always pushed himself to succeed–nearly as much as his never-satisfied financial tycoon father pushes him. Becoming CEO of the world’s largest and most adventuresome oil company seems the next logical step on the success ladder. But when circumstances turn, Will finds himself staring down a road that leads to Capitol Hill. Can he trade the board room for the Senate floor? Or will family secrets keep him from his destiny?

Internationally known psychologist and birth order expert Dr. Kevin Leman teams up with national journalist Jeff Nesbit for this compelling new series filled with political intrigue.

If you watch the video, you see the problem more acutely. This book was written largely for a U.S. audience familiar with American politics. While the authorship of Kevin Leman might be enough to interest some Canadian readers, I’d probably wait to see if there is any interest out there at all before I would stock this title.

CanCon 2: Voices in the Wilderness

In a U.S. dominated industry, I often hear both customers and insiders asking what my store is doing to promote Canadian authors. So today, we continue our series promoting three Canadian authors.  Today we feature Judith Utman from Brockville. Her book Voices in the Wilderness is available to Canadian stores from Ingram at a short discount or from the publisher, Sands Press.

Voices in the WildernessPublisher Marketing: Jack Davidson has all the experience he needs for any survival situation — or so he thinks. As he prepares to instruct his next basic navigation course on Seeley’s Mountain, he is unaware of an evil headed his way that will change everything. His students are expecting a pleasant getaway from their high-pressure lives in the city, but their weekend soon turns to terror and puts their rudimentary survival skills to the test. As suspicions build and events begin to spiral out of control, they soon turn to and against each other and learn more than they ever expected.

Voices in the Wilderness is more than just a novel; it is a powerful work that has the ability to thrill and entertain as well as to teach readers about the unfailing strength of the Lord. One reviewer claimed that “The Holy Spirit ministered to be in and through this book.” I believe that many who read Voices in the Wilderness will share in these sentiments, and will enjoy this unique approach to the adventure genre that glorifies God and all that He does.

464 pages Paperback  9781449767556 $30

Christian Authors Abandon Majors for Boutique Publishing

Over the past few months, we’ve noticed a trend whereby well-known authors who were once signed to major imprints are now releasing books independently with distribution provided by Ingram or Send the Light.  Here are a few examples:

  • David and Neta Jackson (the Yada Yada series) have utilized their Castle Rock Creative moniker for their new Windy City Neighbors series [Note: see comments for a clarification]
  • Robin Jones Gunn has released the Christy and Todd – The Married Years series under their own Robins Nest Publications
  • Francis Chan’s new book, releasing next week, You and Me Forever is listed exclusively with Send the Light, with Claire Love Publishing the designated imprint
  • John Bevere’s last two books on the Holy Spirit and on Marriage are exclusively with Messenger International, along with some curriculum by John and Lisa

The Francis Chan situation interests me as a blogger, because normally, I would review his books, but clearly there is no way of doing this short of trying to track down a contact.  This means social media on the title may be lacking, and many in his fan base may be unaware of the release.

Writers Push the Envelope of Medical Possibilities

In 2010, David Gregory’s futuristic The Last Christian introduced a world where core memory transplants were a medical possibility.   In 2012, James Rubart’s Soul’s Gate broke down the wall between the visible realm and the spiritual realm. And based on the cover and a few things I was able to grab online, Ted Dekker goes all sci-fi in the 2014 young adult release Hacker, which involves hacking into the most sophisticated computer ever produced, the human brain.

But Colleen Coble? Somehow, I found it a stretch to imagine the historical fiction writer delving into a complication from a transplant that I doubt most mystery writers have even considered:

Seagrass Pier Colleen Coble“Cell memory is really true,” says Colleen Coble, whose new book, Seagrass Pier (Thomas Nelson, July), features Elin Summerall, a heart transplant recipient who has violent flashbacks she soon realizes are memories of her donor’s murder. Coble has experience with the phenomenon: “A friend had a transplant and aspects of her personality changed from that moment.”

Seagrass Pier, the second (sic *) book in her Hope Beach series, pits Elin against a stalker who wants to put a permanent end to her flashbacks. Though others discount her story, Marc Everton, an FBI agent on leave who doesn’t know he’s the father of Elin’s daughter, believes her.

The book is a return for Coble to contemporary Christian fiction, which she says is her real love, and a sign of how much Christian fiction has evolved in the past five years. The early days of prairie stories and perfect characters are over, Coble says. “There is a huge ability [now] in Christian fiction to write imperfect characters, to write about all of us. There really is no forbidden topic; we don’t have to shy away from anything.”

Continue reading this story at Publisher’s Weekly.

Colleen is quickly emerging as one of Christian fiction’s most prolific writers with a strong back catalog and many new series titles already scheduled.

*Note to retailers: Publisher’s Weekly’s story has an error. Seagrass Pier is actually book three in the Hope Beach series. Readers might want to start with Tidewater Inn (July, 2012)  then move on to Rosemary Cottage (July, 2013) and then read Seagrass Pier.