Editing Kiss of Death, the second book in the Kiss Trilogy

October 8, 2012

Christina Boys on Editing KISS OF DEATH by Debbie Viguié

From WikipediaWhat I love about fiction is how an author can string together words on a page and make me feel something. Finding yourself crying or laughing out loud at work when you’re a fiction editor is a good sign (well, most of the time…). And just like any reader with a great book, I can get a bit too caught up in my work.

It was February, and I was reading the revised manuscript of Debbie Viguié’s KISS OF DEATH. You know how when you’re reading a really great book, sometimes you feel like you’re in the story? Well, that’s where I was—in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, not in my office. I was only vaguely aware of the world outside as the sun set and the last of my coworkers called goodnight as they left for the evening.

The crowds were departing, leaving Susan and her friends alone in the flickering shadows of the sanctuary.

I happily settled further into my chair as the office became silent, and the lights in the hall clicked off.

They were alone…for now.

I heard a distant door open and close. I paused, looked up, but the motion-sensitive lights in the hall didn’t come on so it must have been somewhere else on the floor.

They were setting a trap for an evil and monstrous foe.

I thought I heard a faint sound. I put the pages down, went to the doorway, looked around. No one there. Clearly I was getting too caught up in the story, but I love when that happens and got back to it.

As they expected, the vampire arrived.

That nagging feeling of not being alone kept trying to tug me out of the story. I went to the doorway of my office and listened. Nothing…wait…there it was again, a faint noise coming from the kitchen. Must be the cleaning person. Of course it was. I waved my arms around to trigger the motion-sensitive lights so the person would know someone was still here and closed the door to my office so I could focus. Then I locked the door, because, well, what if it wasn’t the cleaning person? I went back to reading.

He was more powerful than they’d realized—

I could hear a faint rustling sound beyond the door.

—and he was stalking toward them.

Another rustling, this time closer.

There was no escape—

Rustle rustle.

—they were trapped.

It occurred to me that when the person got to my door and found it locked, he or she would abruptly try the handle. Not only would that freak me out, I’d have to stop reading, open the door, and awkwardly try to explain why I locked myself alone in my office. So I unlocked the door, then ventured bravely out into the hall. Still no sign of anyone, no sound. But this time I stayed in the middle of the hall…waiting. Sure enough the cleaning guy emerged from the office next to mine. He jerked in surprise and almost dropped the wastebasket in his hand when he found me standing there, watching him. Poor guy.

Read an excerpt of KISS OF DEATH by Debbie Viguié.

Kiss of Death by Debbie Viguié will publish tomorrow, October 9, 2012.


Amish Pot Holders from THE WOUNDED HEART

September 25, 2011

Editor Christina Boys Gets Crafty

Christina's finished potholders

Christina's finished potholders

One of the things I love about being an editor is the variety. I never know what skill or information will suddenly be called upon in my work. Growing up, my mother always excelled at all things creative, and could sew just about anything. My sewing skills didn’t get beyond reattaching a button until one weekend I asked her to teach me how to make a quilt, which she graciously did. I never thought I’d ever need to know the basics of quilting to edit a novel, until I started working with Adina Senft on her Amish Quilt Novels trilogy. Each book in the series focuses on one of three Amish women who are close friends. Every week throughout the series, the women get together to work on a quilt. As the author and I brainstormed over lunch, we decided to include instructions so readers could make the quilt along with the characters. This meant a lot more work for Adina than for me (far more than I realized, which you can read about on her blog). However, as I edited the first novel in the series, THE WOUNDED HEART, I was very grateful to my mother, without whom I wouldn’t have known my backing from my batting, or what a fat quarter was.

I’ll admit my quilting skills are still fairly basic, and most of my quilts are basic patterns with stitch-in-the-ditch quilting. But I decided to tackle the block pattern in THE WOUNDED HEART by making some pot holders. When I went to Jo Ann Fabrics I had all sorts of ideas of color combinations and themes (Blue and yellow florals to match my kitchen! Contemporary black and white “manly” pot holders!) Picking out the fabrics is half the fun! But then I thought I’d try to make them as authentically Amish as I could. Using Adina’s guidelines, I picked out solids in traditional Amish colors, then cut a bunch of triangles and squares at once so I could mix and match. In the photo you can see the result.

Adina and I would love to see how others interpret the pattern with their own fabric selection, and if you want to share your own photos you can post them in the comments below or on Twitter (tag @FaithWords!). We’ll compile all of them into another post!

I think the way the center points of the triangles meet makes them look a bit like a butterfly—wouldn’t that be a cute theme for a crib quilt? Maybe that will be my next project…

Editor Buzz: Billy Coffey’s Second Novel

August 30, 2011

A fresh, contemporary, and male take on guardian angels, from Billy Coffey

Editor Buzz with FaithWords Editor Joey Paul

Paper Angels, Billy CoffeyI remember when the manuscript for Snow Day, Billy Coffey’s first novel, hit my desk. It didn’t take me long to realize Billy was a rare talent. And the reviews after the book’s release have confirmed that fact. His second book, Paper Angels, is just as remarkable. It brings a contemporary, male attitude to his new book about guardian angels.

Paper Angels is about a man named Andy Sommerville who seems no different than anyone else in his rural Virginian community, but what sets him apart is that his best friend is an angel. The angel is God’s answer to a childhood prayer Andy offered to a twinkling star that his diseased mother once called the “door to heaven.” The first angelic proclamation instructs Andy to find the wooden keepsake box in his grandparents’ attic. Over the years, the angel directs Andy to fill it with apparently meaningless objects from twelve people with whom Andy randomly crosses paths.

However, Andy’s world is turned upside down when a brutal attack leaves Andy burned and the boy he loved as a son dead. At this crucial juncture, the angel abandons Andy to loneliness and pain. All that remains is the wooden box Andy has always kept safe, and a new angel who will use it to help him discover the defining truth of his life; new hope in the community he loves, and greater trust in the God who sustains him.

The story is told from Andy’s hospital bed where he awakes feeling God has abandoned him. Without being preachy or saccharine, the author brings the small town to life and reveals a spiritual secret—the presence of angels—that helps a wounded man discover the defining truth of his life, place new hope in the community he loves, and trust totally in the God who sustains him.

Billy Coffey is a syndicated writer for News Leader, Open Roads Magazine and Churchmouse Publications through which a massive audience is reached in over 1,100 markets for Christian writers. I hope you get the opportunity to read Paper Angels as well as Billy’s first novel, Snow Day.

PAPER ANGELS pubs 11/9/11.

Joey Paul is an Executive Editor at FaithWords, an imprint of the Hachette Book Group.

Editor Buzz: Book – The Day Satan Called

August 17, 2011

Bill Scott’s True Encounter with Demon Possession and Exorcism

Editor Buzz with FaithWords editor Joey Paul

The Day Satan Called, Bill ScottI was not raised to believe that demons and demon possession were an active, visible threat, to the Christian life. That concern was left to my more “charismatic” friends. In fact, until I met Bill Scott, I had never heard about anything remotely similar to what he had experienced. He shared with me a riveting personal account of demon possession and its devastating impact on his family.The result of my learning about his experience is Bill’s book The Day Satan Called. The book is his account of an excruciating 18-month period in his life. Out of Christian love he and his wife invited a young lady who was demon possessed and the member of an active satanic network into their home. They prayed with her and naively believed that they could help redeem someone who had witnessed and experienced unimaginable abuses.

What happened instead was loss of their home as a sanctuary. Voices. Deathly threats. Objects falling and moving. Strange visitors and callers. A loving church falling into turmoil. And yes the voice of Satan. Every day was filled with the dread of nightfall. Scott and his wife struggled with what to do next with the demon possessed girl because now their home was under attack. The Day Satan Called takes the reader through the Scotts’ challenges with evil spirits and what they had to do to overcome them, such as protecting their family, home, and what to do after the girl was gone but the demons had not left.

This is the account of a terrifying and incredible phenomenon. But ultimately, it is a testament to the power of God’s love, even over evil spirits.

While I didn’t lose sleep or have nightmares while editing Bill’s book, my personal assistant did and also others who have read the MSS. It’s that revealing, and apparently, that to some, that scary.

Bill Scott is the President and Founder of Xtreme Youth Alliance. Bill also writes a daily Bible study with 5,000 subscribers. He is a popular speaker with youth groups and on college campuses in the U.S. and throughout the world. Scott is a Christian radio consultant who personally conducts 50 on-air fundraising events each year. These events will be used to promote the book. The author is also signing with a speaker’s bureau that will take his talk about this experience on the road. He and his wife Janet reside in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

THE DAY SATAN CALLED pubs 10/11/11.

Joey Paul is an Executive Editor at FaithWords, an imprint of the Hachette Book Group.

Editor Buzz: John Eldredge and Jesus

August 9, 2011

Beautiful Outlaw:Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus

Editor Buzz with FaithWords Editor Joey Paul

Over the years, I’ve read several books on the person and work of Jesus Christ. I’ve even had the privilege of publishing several, but I have to say, the new book by John Eldredge, Beautiful Outlaw, is the most compelling and insightful book of Jesus I’ve ever read. Where John’s book Wild at Heart set masculinity free from the “nice guy” mentality of the church, Beautiful Outlaw sets Jesus free from the numbing religious stereotypes by helping readers discover the “personality” Christ demonstrated while here on earth (which was often extravagant, disruptive, and playful). The author believes that reading the gospels without the personality of Jesus is like watching television with the sound turned off. The result is a dry, two dimensional person doing strange, undecipherable things.

Beautiful Outlaw, John EldredgeEldredge shatters the stained glass to reveal stunning new insights in familiar stories, including the fact that the wine Jesus created at Cana amounted to 908 bottles, late in the celebration – an act of scandalous generosity.

The book presents three major themes. The first is the personality of Jesus – it is often scandalous and it is utterly engaging. The second is the way we can experience him in our life – that same Jesus is available to us, here and now. The third is what his life actually means for ours – we get to live a life of the same quality, the same power.

John Eldredge is the founder and director of Ransomed Heart Ministries located in Colorado Springs, CO, an organization devoted to helping people live their true identities in Jesus Christ by living from their heart. Ransomed Heart hosts several events around the country each year.

If you read only one serious book this year, you’ll do yourself a favor by reading Beautiful Outlaw.

BEAUTIFUL OUTLAW pubs 10/12/11.

Joey Paul is an Executive Editor at FaithWords, an imprint of the Hachette Book Group.

Editor Buzz: Ir-rev-rend

July 7, 2011

Book shatters stereotypes of Christian life

Editor Buzz with FaithWords editor Joey Paul

What I like most about Pastor Greg Surratt’s new book, Ir-rev-rend, is that is shatters all the stereotypes and myths about the ups and downs of the Christian life.

Ir-rev-rend, a play on words between “Irreverent” and “Reverend.” It means: a pastor who is somewhat critical of what is generally accepted or respected; a pastor who is trying to make sense of life, love, the church, and other confusing things from a slightly satirical point of view and an irreverent sense of humor; and a “normal” guy pursuing God.

Whatever you may think about the “typical” pastor, throw it out. Do they make mistakes, bad decisions, commit sin and experience severed relationships? The answer is yes. Pastor Greg Surratt isn’t perfect, and he unashamedly tells the stories from his life that has strengthened his faith. He writes that the choice to follow Christ is never clean, is often scary, is usually clothed in mystery and is always an adventure.

For some people, God appears in dark, dirty, lonely, or just plain odd places. Greg found God while huddled under a grand piano, hiding from overzealous friends and family trying to accost him during an altar call at a Pentecostal revival. So began a life of sharing stories of God’s endlessly creative and often surprising work, and seeing God’s transforming power in unexpected ways. Despite years of vocational ministry, Greg never underestimates the power of divine/human encounters in some of the least “churchy” places on Earth.

Humorous, insightful, and challenging, Ir-rev-rend is a revealing and joyous look at real-life Christian living. As Greg himself affirms, if God can use his missteps and blunders, God can use anybody’s.

Greg Surratt is the founding pastor of Seacoast Church, a large and growing church with thirteen campuses hosting twenty-nine weekend worship experiences in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Seacoast is ranked among the top ten most innovative churches and the top ten most influential churches, as well as in the top 100 fastest-growing churches in America. Over 13,000 worshipers attend each weekend.

Engaging and accessible, Ir-rev-rend reflects on the unusual, awesome, and awkward moments of life. In the tradition of Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott, Ir-rev-rend speaks to skeptics, seekers and committed Christians alike who enjoy reading well-written, daringly honest spiritual memoirs.

IR-REV-REND pubs 9/28/11.

Joey Paul is an Executive Editor at FaithWords, an imprint of the Hachette Book Group.

Editor Buzz: Fall Fiction From FaithWords

June 29, 2011

Amish fiction and Christian vampires

Editor Buzz with Fiction Editor Christina Boys

There are two new fiction series we’re launching this fall that I’m really excited about, that are about as far apart as, well, day and night.

The Wounded Heart, Adina SenftThe first is the Amish Quilt trilogy by Adina Senft, which follows three Amish friends who meet once a week to work on a quilt. In the first novel, THE WOUNDED HEART, which comes out this September, we meet Amelia Beiler, a young widow and mother of two. In order to support her family, she has to run her late husband’s palette making shop, which is not something life has prepared her to do. Adina is a wonderful writer, and this novel feels like a little escape to a different world, which is what I think is so appealing about Amish fiction. She is also adding instructions so readers can make the quilt the three protagonists of the three books are working on throughout the series. In THE WOUNDED HEART, we learn how to make the block pattern. I made some pot holders based on the instructions, and finally figured out how to sew a proper mitered corner.

Kiss of Night, Debbie ViguieIn October we have quite a different series debuting with KISS OF NIGHT by New York Times bestselling author Debbie Viguié. It’s about a woman named Susan who goes to Prague for her grandmother’s funeral, and discovers a whole other world she never knew existed when she meets Raphael de Decazeville. Raphael was a ruthless knight during the Crusades who placed so little value on the lives of others that he was cursed to walk the earth as a vampire. What I love about Debbie’s series is that she has created a new mythology, drawing on scripture and finding ways to connect it to some of the common vampire lore. For instance, why would vampires exist? Why do crosses burn them? Do they really need to be invited in, and is there a way to keep them out? Can they find redemption?

Both Debbie and Adina are currently working on their second novels in their series, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store next for their characters!

THE WOUNDED HEART pubs 9/27/11.
KISS OF NIGHT pubs 10/7/11.

Christina Boys is a Fiction Editor at FaithWords and Center Street, imprints of the Hachette Book Group. You can find her on Twitter: @Cb00k

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