Sunday, 30 September 2012

Beautiful BookShelves #2

 Many book fans love browsing bookshelves almost as much as reading itself, and bookshelves are an integral part of their homes! Here at Sunpenny, we love pretty bookshelves that display our book collections in creative ways, so to celebrate uniquely designed bookcases and huge collections, we have created a new blog feature called Beautiful Bookshelves. This is the second post of the series.

Feast your eyes on this creative collection of shelves:

Bookshelf: Sliding bookshelf
Aahhh - falling books!

Storing books in a 'fridge!'
Storing books in the fridge is one way to find more space to store them!

USA shelf!
USA Bookshelf. We think it would be great in libraries there - if it was real.

Great decor!


Wow- a tardis bookshelf! Perfect for bookish Doctor Who fans. What did you think of last night's episode?
Perfect for bookish Dr Who fans!

Have a whale of time reading!
Have a whale of a time reading...

Which is your favourite? You can find more beautiful bookshelves on our Pinterest board here. Look out for the next 'Beautiful Bookshelves' post soon!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Interview with Stephanie Parker McKean, author of 'Bridge to Nowhere'

Stephanie Parker McKean at Bridge to Nowhere, Fortrose, Scotland with her collie just like the protagonist Mike!
Stephanie Parker McKean with her collie, Angel Joy

I'm very happy to introduce Stephanie Parker McKean, author of the newly published Christian mystery-suspense romance Bridge to Nowhere to the blog again today for a special interview.

About 'Bridge to Nowhere'

Bestselling author Mike spends her days shut up in her office, churning out detective stories for her publisher. When a beautiful stranger appears, masquerading as Lynette Clarissa Greene, begging her to help investigate the murder of her sister, Mike is soon embroiled in a mystery which includes the entire town. From the simple-minded Clint, who sheds light on Lynette’s true identity, to the talented Nat, and the orphaned Jared, Mike soon finds herself immersed in the illicit subculture of Texas Hill. From dog fights to kidnappings, her life is thrown into chaos by her incessant need to track down culprits and bring them to justice.

            In amongst the drama she finds herself wrapped up in is Mike’s relationship with retired film star and rodeo champion Marty. Used to saving her from the troubles she finds herself unwittingly caught up in, Marty is her hero. As the story progresses, Marty comes around to Mike’s qualities and they grow closer both professionally and personally. Will they finally settle on a date and keep it? Or will the drama continue to obliterate any progress they are making in their relationship? 

About Stephanie Parker McKean

          I’ve survived being mauled by an African lion and bitten by a deadly water moccasin snake and have emerged victorious after suffering a childhood of sexual abuse. I’ve learned that what doesn’t make you bitter makes you better. You can’t make lemonade without lemons. And thank God, I’ve made the transition from atheist to Christian. My two favourite Bible verses are: in everything give thanks, and all things work together to good to them that love the LORD. Now, Sunpenny Publishing, with its release of my Christian mystery-romance-suspense Bridge to Nowhere, has gifted my lifetime dream of writing books with reality. I’m now married to wonderful Alan McKean—also a published author—and living in the lovely Black Isle of Scotland, even though I was born in Texas and am still proud of my birth state. Next to writing, a few of my favourite things are animals and rocks. I love building with rocks and cement when I’m not writing or taking our rough collie, Angel Joy, for a walk. And about the lion—he wasn’t being mean when he mauled me—he was just being a lion. As for water moccasins, I no longer pick them up to see if they are poisonous or harmless, because they seem to resent being picked up…and after that stay in the hospital—I know anyway!

Now for the questions – welcome to the blog!

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

The author's favourite way to write: barefoot and comfy.
A: I’ve always been proud of having been born in Texas, which is silly—since my parents selected the location and I had nothing to do with it! Actually, I grew up in Georgia, where I graduated from high school and attended college. I say “attended” because I dropped out before I had to take math. I went back to college again in Texas, but by that time I had helped start a local newspaper and was a staff writer. Since all I had ever wanted to do my entire life was write—I dropped out of college again before I had to take math.

Q: What’s wrong with math?

A: Nothing! Math is wonderful. But it isn’t the perfect science that some claim. Think about it. You put down five crayons on a table and count them, 1-2-3-4-5. Now, go to your job at 8 a.m. and work until noon. Then count the hours for your time sheet and turn them in just the way you counted the crayons: 8-9-10-11-12. That’s five numbers. You’ve worked five hours. But if you count that way, you’re liable to be fired for cheating!

Q: What was the inspiration behind Miz Mike in Bridge to Nowhere and the other books in that series?

A: One of my favourite authors is Phyllis A. Whitney because her books are well researched and contain elements of mystery and adventure—as well as romance. But her books are not Christ-centered and the characters are young. I built Miz Mike to appeal to an older reading audience that can relate to her love for chocolate, her battle to lose weight, and her ability to live life to the fullest and find romance and adventure just being who she is and not attempting to put on a show to impress others.

Q: Describe Bridge to Nowhere in a ten-word sentence.

A: A writer sticking to ten words! Bridge to Nowhere demonstrates faith in action rewarded with love.
Stephanie Parker McKean follows in the footsteps of quirky protagonist Miz Mike by walking on the dangerous side of the Bridge to Nowhere!
Q: What appeals to you about writing Christian romance-mystery-adventure?

A: It’s what I enjoy reading. I got tired of buying mystery and romance novels by popular writers, then chucking them in the trash because of the profanity and cardboard characters who made wrong lifestyle choices with impunity, deliberately mocking God and then—somehow—finding happiness.

Q: How long did it take you to write Bridge to Nowhere?

A: Writing books is easy. I’ve written two more Miz Mike books in the year since I moved to Scotland, started another, and have written two children’s books. What takes time is editing, marketing, selling. I was working fulltime at a newspaper and had late night meetings when I wrote Bridge to Nowhere, so I think it took about four months.

Q: How did living in Texas affect Bridge to Nowhere?

A: Without the imaginary Three Prongs, Texas, where misfits fit, there wouldn’t be a Miz Mike series. The characters are Texan to the bone and use cowboy and rodeo phrases that one hears on Main Street Bandera—which some argue is the real Three Prongs. The first time I drove into the beautiful Texas Hill Country, I knew I had found my country. The first time I visited Bandera, I knew I had come home. I wasn’t born there—but I got there as fast as I could!

Q: Miz Mike, the main character in Bridge to Nowhere, experiences some comical moments. Can you share your favourite Miz Mike saying from the book?

A: That has to be her statement that she always minds her own business. Because, of course, she never minds her own business. Not minding her own business causes Miz Mike to create one 'pickle' after another—as her heartthrob, western cowboy hero Marty calls her escapades.

The author of inspirational romance Bridge to Nowhere, Stephanie Parker McKean writes in her favourite place!
Enjoying writing in her favourite place-
sitting on a rock!
Q: Do you have any other favourite quotes from the book?

A: It’s not so much a favourite quote, but I love Clint Flavors. Local folks make disparaging comments about him: “he’s not the brightest crayon in the box,” or, “his elevator stops between floors.” Yet God uses Clint to help Miz Mike solve many mysteries. I’m always on the side of the underdog!

Q: What do you hope readers take away with them after finishing Bridge to Nowhere?

A: That God is in control. No matter how hopeless a situation seems—like when Mike’s grandson is kidnapped and law enforcement can’t find him—faith is its own reward and God honors faith.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

A: You mean there are other things to do besides write? Actually, I love being outside. I love walking. I don’t love running—but I do it anyway. What I love most next to writing is rocks. I love rocks. I love to make walls, paths, flowerbeds, bird feeders—anything that I can make from rocks and cement. I can still lift and carry a 80-pound bag of cement. One of my husband’s favourite pictures of me is me standing under the carport holding a bag of cement with the 80-pound label showing.

Q: Where is your favourite place to write?

A: Anywhere! Everywhere! I once wrote an entire book standing up at the kitchen counter because I was a caregiver for someone who was terminally ill and couldn't be left alone. It’s another Miz Mike book in the series. I love writing outside, too. Sitting on a nice, warm rock! It reminds me of Jesus—the Rock that holds up the framework of my life—and my writing.

Thank you to Stephanie for giving us such fascinating insights into Bridge to Nowhere!

Rose & Crown Books 

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Bridge to Nowhere is available to buy on Amazon UK, Amazon US and The Book Depository.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Announcement: The results for the 2012 Short Story Writing Competitions are in!

Drum roll, please...

The results of the 2012 Sunpenny Short Story Writing Competitions have been announced on our website!

First of all, congratulations to all our winners and commendations from everyone at Sunpenny!

Once again, the entries for the Christian Short Story Competition and the Open Short Story Competition were of a high standard and the judges enjoyed reading their way through a vivid and fascinating variety of stories from all over the world. There was a lot of positive feedback and the wonderful standard of entries meant that the judging was once more very close. The top three entries in each competition are listed below but please visit our website for the commendations and more detail on the results.

Christian Short Story Competition

1st PlaceDustJanet Killeen, London, UK
2nd PlaceA Song In Three PartsRhoda Williams, Tunbridge Wells, UK
3rd PlaceBehind The FenceVasiliki Scurfield, Royston, UK

Open Short Story Competition

1st PlaceThe TollPeter Court, Manningham, Australia
2nd PlaceA Melon Out Of SeasonLeo Madigan, Fatima, Portugal
3rd PlaceThe Further Adventures of MoleJacqueline Dowling, Hermanus, South Africa

Current Competitions

If you're feeling inspired, why not enter our current writing competitions? The deadline is the 31st October so there is still plenty of time to get writing and enter a story to one of the three categories of 'Open', Christian' and 'Sunberry Young Writers' short story competitions. Find out more about the competition categorie,s including the guidelines and rules on our website here.

For aspiring novelists, there is also our Rose & Crown New Novel Competition for manuscripts within the Christian inspirational romance genre! It is open for entries until the 31st of January 2013 and the winners will get their novels published under our Rose & Crown imprint. Find out more on the Rose & Crown website.

Watch out for the results of the 2012 Rose & Crown New Novel Competition around the end of September and remember to spread the word about our current short story competitions!