Friday, August 29, 2008

Heartsong Editor’s Picks

As many of you know, Heartsong Presents asks the club members to vote on their favorite book from the series each year. We post those results in January after members have received all thirteen shipments of books and have had a chance to send in their votes.

Well, on my “front end” of the job, I have overseen all thirteen cycles of 2008 through the copy edit process and am well into working on the 2009 releases. I was talking to Becky on Monday about how I could let readers, authors, and hopeful authors know my favorite Heartsongs from 2008. I wanted to be careful in doing this because it is not my desire to hurt any author’s feelings who doesn’t make “the list.” Authors and editors work hard on each Heartsong to make it the very best it can be. That said, there are some Hearstong books that shine a little brighter than the rest in my mind and are the ones I enjoyed working on the most. And so with this post, I’d like to start a tradition of making a Heartsong Presents Editor’s Picks list each year.

To make this list as fair as possible, my trusty content review editor Rachel Overton gave me her input, as well. That’s because while I do acquire each book and oversee the editing process of it, I do not read all 52 titles per year word-for-word. But between the two of us, we do read every story completely.

So, without further ado, here are the 2008 (HP#777 - #828) Heartsong Presents Editor’s Picks:

#1 – Walk with Me (#822) by Becky Melby and Cathy Wienke
#2 – Out of the Blue (#806) by Janice A. Thompson
#3 – Buffalo Gal (#818) by Mary Connealy
#4 – In Pursuit of Peace (#802) by Jennifer Johnson
#5 – Only Today (#805) by Jeri Odell

#1 – (This one’s a tie for first place for a three-book series set in New Hampshire that all release in 2008) Return to Love (#800), A New Joy (#811), and Abiding Peace (#827) by Susan Page Davis
#2 – A Time to Laugh (#787) by Kelly Eileen Hake
#3 – Alias, Mary Smith (#824) by Rachel Druten
#4 – Wild at Heart (#816) by Vickie McDonough
#5 – A Treasure Reborn (#795) by Pamela Griffin

There you have ‘em! If you can’t read every Heartsong every year, then those are the ones I’d most recommend reading from 2008. Now I’m curious to see how my picks compare with reader favorites in January!


Jennifer Johnson said...

Hi JoAnne and everyone,

JoAnne, I'm so tickled that In Pursuit of Peace is the #4 contemporary. When I was writing it, I felt anything but PEACE!!! But once it was finished, I knew God had done a work in me. :) Each story I write becomes my new favorite, and I pray God makes my writing better and more edifying to others each time.

I've found the process of writing to be more humbling, strenuous, and exhausting than I'd ever originally imagined. I guess that's because with each thought and strike of the key, God must first do a work in us. How I praise Him and cling to Him for that.

Jennifer Johnson

Susan Page Davis said...

What an honor! I'm so glad my New Hampshire books touched your heart, Joanne, and I pray they will speak to many other readers. This series was inspired by my family research history on Richard Otis, the blacksmith who was killed in the massacre of 1689, an ancestor of mine. Visiting the museum in Dover and seeing artifacts from his garrison house that was burned hit home. More than 300 years ago, my family lived and died here! Thank you for the opportunity to share "my" stories.

Vickie McDonough said...

Thank you, JoAnn! I feel so honored that my book stayed in your mind so well when I know how many you have to read. I really enjoyed writing Wild At Heart and hope readers will enjoy it too.

I feel in love with the little town of Medora that I researched for my stories. I didn't know that North Dakota had so many cool places to see until I visited there.

Thanks again for this awesome blessing, and congratulations to the other wonderful writers on the list!

Mary Connealy said...

JoAnne, thank you for picking Buffalo Gal. I'm honored.

I see a lot of my favorites on these lists, too. YAY!!! :)

Janice Thompson said...

JoAnne, I'm so thrilled you loved "Out of the Blue." I love it, too! When I thought about doing an Amish book, I knew I couldn't do it straight. What other editor would let me get away with an Englisher in an Amish buggy on a cell phone? I love you, girl!

Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Woo-hoo! Look at those names. All authors I love and admire. Ok, so I don't know Rachel, Becky, Cathy and Jeri too well beyond their books, but that can be remedied easy enough. :)

Congrats to all 11 of you on receiving editor's picks. That's awesome! Yet another "award" you can designate next to your books on your web sites.

Erica Vetsch said...

Congratulations to all those chosen. It must've been such a difficult decision to narrow down so many good books to these few. I'm happy that some of my favorite authors made this list. :) And it gives me more incentive to read those books I'm not familiar with.

Cara Putman said...

How fun! Congrats to the winners :-)

Becky Melby said...

I responded to JoAnne privately, but I wanted to say a public thank you. What an incredible, unexpected honor. Cathy and I came up with the idea for Walk with Me while sitting in the airport in Nashville after the 2006 ACFW conference. We took a bump and received a voucher that would cover airfare for the 2007 conference, then used the extra time to watch people and let the storyline develop--a double blessing. It was a learning journey to walk alongside our characters Trace and Sydney as they learned that, in spite of their pasts, God had a future filled with promise for them. Congratulations to the other authors on the list. We are blessed to write for Heartsong.
Becky Melby

Debby Mayne said...

Thank you for sharing this list, JoAnne. These are all wonderful books by incredibly gifted authors.