Thursday, March 18, 2010

Winter's End by Ruth Logan Herne


I love to read debut authors' books. I think it gives a great feel for what editors are looking for. The books have something in them that caught an editor's eye and made her want to take a chance on those newbies.

I recently read a fantastic debut by my good friend Ruth Logan Herne, Winter's End (Steeple Hill Love Inspired). I actually got to read the unedited manuscript, so it was really cool to see the changes (another way to learn!). Of course, in this instance, there didn't seem to be a lot of changes! (No, I'm really and truly not jealous. ;))

Winter's End was a sweet, touching story about a Hospice nurse and the son of one of her patients. The two characters couldn't be more different. He's a farmer and loves cold yet beautiful North Country of rural New York. She's biding her time, fulfilling an obligation and can't wait to move back to where it's warmer. Plus, she reminds him of the superficial mother who abandoned him.

Lots of room for conflict!

Ruthy goes places in this book that would be difficult for any author to go. She touches on death, abandonment, adultery, child abuse, prostitution. And she handles each, not as an issue, but as a way to show pain and victory in her characters. I believe it's what drew her editor to her story. Ruthy wasn't afraid to let her characters struggle. She wasn't afraid of emotion. She just blurped it out there on the page and let her characters work their way through the muck. And they did a beautiful job of it by the end of the story. :)

So learn from this new author. Be brave. Write a story that will wrench hearts, then will let the reader soar with the joy of love, forgiveness and healing.

And now I'm going to go email her to ask if she'll stop by in case someone has a question!

17 comments:

  1. WOW! This sounds like an awesome book! Thank you for sharing this Missy. I can't wait to pick up a copy. Is it out yet?

    I could just pop on over to Harlequin and check that out....

    Hope Ruth will stop by!

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  2. Yes, Christy, the book's out. I just bought it at Wal-Mart a few days ago to read b/c the story sounded really good. I haven't started on it yet, but I may have to bump up my time table after reading Missy's post.

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  3. Thanks for the review, Missy. Sounds like a good one. Great tips, too! I'll have to keep an eye out for Winter's End.

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  4. Good morning, everyone! Ruthy emailed me telling me she can't get in to comment, so I'm glad to see some of you were able. I'll see if I can figure out what she's doing wrong. :)

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  5. Hi Missy:

    I have read thirteen reviews of Winter’s End and yours is by far the most telling. I might add that I think Winter’s End will win many awards for its honesty and directness.

    Winter’s End makes me think of the New York Yankee manager who, when asked what he thought of a spectacular new rookie, said “I think he was sent down from a higher league.”

    Winter’s End was sent down from a higher league.

    Vince

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  6. Oh my stars, between Missy's amazing review and Vince's beyond amazing review, I am over-the-top happy and humbled.

    And first, I'm going to thank my buddy Vince for analogizing me with a YANKEE manager (he understands my indiscriminate love for Derek Jeter, the Yankees amazing and to-die-for good looking sweetheart of a shortstop.)

    And classic authors whose work is mind-boggling amazing. Thank you, my generous and sweet new BFF. The check's in the mail, Dude.

    Inspired from a higher league, Vince said.

    Most definitely. Sometime when there's more time and space, we'll talk about turning those lemons into lemonade, helping people by being a voice in the wilderness and how the wretched times of life can be spun either half-full or half-empty.

    Missy, I love that you're telling everyone to be brave and write their heart because that's so true. Winter's End NEVER finaled in a contest where content was read. I got told that no editor would contract a story about death, that while the writing was okay, the subject matter was too dark. Only one judge gave it a nod and said something like, "Well, you might have a fight on your hands, but if the rest of the story is this good, if you handle this delicate topic really well, I think it's different enough to get you noticed."

    It got into the FAB because it finaled in a QUERY letter contest, caught an editor's eye, then finaled in FAB and caught another editor's eye.

    Is it different?

    Yup.

    Is it amazing?

    Yes.

    Was it full-of-myself-conceited-and-smug to say that?

    Nope.

    God offers hope. Joy. Grace. Life to the full.

    He doesn't promise to smooth the way, remove the ruts, re-pave the potholes. Our healthy two legs and arms and thinking brain should be good for something, right???

    He's no magic pill. He's so much better than that.

    So yes, Christy, run out and grab a copy. It's been selling well, but they still have online copies at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, B&N, Borders. It was a March release so if your area bookstores don't change out early, it's still on the shelves. And then write to me and tell me what you think. And I'm tough, sister... I can take it on the chin!

    And Dianna, thank you for grabbing a copy, girlfriend!!!! I'm SO grateful. Give me a shout via e-mail or at Seekerville. I value your opinions, gals.

    April, I promise....

    It's sweet. Warm. Evocative. Inspiring.

    I had the Holy Spirit working overtime on this one. ;)

    And it's so doggone nice to see you guys here. I'm kissing the comment button because it didn't light up for me this morning.

    That would have been so sad...

    boo hoooooo

    Not to talk with you guys.

    I love talking.

    But you probably figured that out by now. :)

    Bless you guys.

    Ruthy

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  7. Vince, thanks for stopping by as well. You hit the nail on the head.

    If y'all look at the Dear reader letter in this book, it talks about how Ruhty's mother suffered from lung cancer like the hero's dad. And she was in hospice...

    There's a lot of her heart in the book.

    Ruthy, after pouring so much of you into this book, was book two hard to write to follow up? Did you have sophomore-itis? :)

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  8. And by the way, I put a link to B&N in the post. They have copies. You can just click on the book cover.

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  9. Amen and amen, Missy. This is a fantastic book. I know I've shouted it from the Seekerville rafters and am going to post about it on my blog, but it's just a great story. Humor, heartbreak, triumph, romance...whew. Ruthy's got it.

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  10. Winter's End -- what can I say about this story that hasn't been said here yet?
    Yes, it's high drama-- everything Missy said is in it. Along with the cleansing of forgiveness & absolution, the pain of rejection and then humbling oneself to return to the fold, the acceptance of another's problems & faults & loving them unconditionally despite them all, the struggle to work through bad memories, experiences, and misfortunes & coming out on the other side.... Okay, stopping the gush now.
    I happen to be in the 'sandwich' generation, so this was a book that spoke volumes to me personally. I had to put it down sometimes, because there were some tender spots Ruthy hit with her words. Ponder. Re-read. Then go forward again.

    Can't wait for the next one-- it's Waiting Out The Storm, I think.

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  11. Pepper and Pamela, thanks for stopping by.

    Pamela, it can be difficult to read at times. I remember while reading the manuscript, one time I hollered, "NO! You can't do that!!"

    Of course, my family always thinks I'm crazy whenever I reading. :) I laugh, I cry, I talk to the books. LOL

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  12. Oh--I need to buy this book. Will look this weekend.
    Thanks Ruthy for stopping by. I've heard so many great things about this book. We're glad your our guest today.

    And April---I there! We hope to see you Tuesday.

    Pepper---hello--shout from everywhere when you read a good book, right?

    Dianna, looks like you need to start reading. Especially after all these comments.

    Vince--great review and thanks for visiting us again.

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  13. It's on my nightstand. Maybe I should put it under my pillow? (Osmosis!)

    Thanks Missy!

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  14. Hi Missy:

    I should have also mentioned that as serious as “Winter’s End” is, it is still a romance. The gradual, step-by-step, falling in love process, between the hero and heroine, is drawn with great insight. The conflict keeping the hero and heroine apart is built into the situation that the charters find themselves in. This lends a credibility as to why the hero and heroine simply don’t fall in love that you don’t often find in many romances. At least not this authentically.

    The book also has a Biblical gravitas that reminds me of Job. The characters are innocent and did nothing to bring the suffering down upon themselves (other than the father’s smoking and that was his secondary tragedy, not the original trial.) This only enhances the spiritual triumph while intensifying the emotional impact.

    I’d love to get “Winter’s End” into the hands of all those English professors who don’t treat romance novels with the serious respect they deserve. If we could get them to read "Winter's End", they would never think of romances in the same way again.

    Vince

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  15. Oooooo, that sounds like a definite must-read. I'm checking my local Wally World today :-)
    And yes, you definitely need to have Ruth join us sometime. I love her contest stories.

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  16. Thanks, everyone, for your input!

    Mindy, I'm glad you found the book. :)

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