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A good name is better than gold

- 07/01/09  

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July-August 2009


< The House of Grace

< Argentina: A Good Name Is Better Than Gold

< A Novel Idea

< LittWorld 2009 Updates

Hi, ! 

Where do you get your inspiration for new ideas? Travel, a new book, facebook, a second cup of coffee? In this issue, we provide all except the last, leaving you only to fill your mug. Journey with us from France to Argentina, and then into the makings of a new book on how to write inspirational fiction.


We hope this inside scoop on books and publishing will help fuel your creativity. At the least, please don't resist the urge to get that refill and curl up with a book!


The House of Grace

In La maison de la grâce (The House of Grace), Jonathan Hanley takes readers on a tour of God’s grace as if they are exploring the rooms of a home. Writing to both spiritual seekers and Christians, he quotes extensively from mainstream literature, movies and music to illustrate aspects of grace.

Hanley says, “In France, many people are disenchanted with New Age. Some are finding their way back to historic Catholic or Protestant denominations or Evangelical fellowships. They often know they need God back in their lives, but are hesitant to commit.”


The book’s premise is that people need a place of belonging where they let relationships take root. God’s grace is like a house for souls, a place where people find shelter, sustenance and companionship. As they learn to live in the house of God’s grace, their relationships, self-worth and hope for the future all flourish.

For 15 years Hanley ministered with a French organization to people with AIDS. There he met Christians with AIDS who feared rejection by local churches if they disclosed their condition. He also discovered firsthand that churches were reluctant to welcome people with AIDS. The seeds for a book on grace grew from this time. 


Editor Joel Short of Editions Farel says the popularity of TV shows, books and stores focused on home decorating in France piqued their interest in a book about the spirituality behind the desire for a welcoming home.


One reader writes, "It is a living book. As I read it, I was eager to open each room, even the ones I have always kept closed in my life."


The book concludes with the lyrics of “Grace” by U2, including,

What once was hurt
What once was friction
No longer stings
Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Argentina: A Good Name is Better Than Gold

Sandra Pedace (right in photo) is director of SAGEPE Editores, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A bookworm since childhood, Sandra worked in advertising as a graphic designer before getting a master’s degree in book publishing. SAGEPE focuses on publishing Argentinean writers who can reach both secular and Christian readers.

What does SAGEPE stand for?
SAGEPE is simply the initials of my full name. The purpose of using my name is to back up the integrity of each project, prioritizing biblical values over everything else. I like the proverb, “A good name is more desirable than great riches…” (Prov. 22:1).

What is your focus? 
e try to produce materials acceptable to the secular market. SAGEPE offers a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles that interest more than just an ‘evangelical’ audience, while also carefully presenting Christ-centered values. 

As the Church we need to reach the world sincerely and intelligently. In any secular bookstore in Argentina you find material that’s openly occult. We need to be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

Describe one of your bestsellers.
The Manual to Overcome Addictions: You Can Leave It Behind! is in its second edition. The author—my  husband, Dario Montagano—struggled with addictions, then he met the Lord and felt the call to help young people with this problem. It contains 56 short lessons to help an addict find freedom in Christ.

A pastor took the book to help a young addict in his church. When he shared the lesson at the addict’s house, the young man’s parents and his friends also accepted Christ.

How did you decide to print mostly Argentinean authors?
We’re convinced that there is excellent talent here. We know it’s difficult to promote authors who aren’t known globally, so we are selective. We seek writers who provide a valuable addition to the literary market, and who back their manuscript with a good ministry and testimony that supports the unity of the Church.

How do you distribute your books?
Our books are sold in Christian and secular bookstores. We also have our own bookstore in Buenos Aires called “Hidden TREASURES” where we distribute for other publishers, including secular ones.

This year we participated in Expolit (a conference for Christian publishers in Latin America) to expand our market to other countries. Currently we have a distributer in Miami, thanks to an agreement with the Letra Viva Network. We’re working to expand our catalog to 20 titles for 2010 and broaden our market to each capital of the Americas.

-MAI Intern Christine Kindberg

A Novel Idea   

Less than a year ago, I met author Robin Gunn at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for the drive to a nearby retreat center for MAI’s Board meetings. Despite a short night after visiting author friend Angela Hunt, Robin wasn’t thinking about sleep.


She wanted to share an idea that had emerged when she and Angela brainstormed ways to help international Christian writers--many of whom cannot afford to attend writer’s conferences or obtain the kind of resources many American writers do.


“Before we knew it, we were thinking about asking some of our writing pals to contribute an article to a 'how-to' book for writers,” Angela recalled later in her blog. Proceeds from sales of the book would benefit international Christian writers.


A lot has happened in the last 11 months.


Tyndale House Publishers has announced the November 1 release of A Novel Idea, a 250-page book offering “everything you need to know” about writing inspirational fiction.  “This valuable guide contains tips on how to plan, craft, and market a novel,” the advance publicity reads.


Contributors include top Christian fiction authors Jerry Jenkins, Karen Kingsbury, Francine Rivers and Randy Alcorn, to name a few.


Not only will the book provide valuable counsel for aspiring novelists, it will offer tangible aid to writers in hard places of the world. “All proceeds will benefit MAI, an international organization whose goal is to help fledgling writers and publishers produce Christian literature that is culturally relevant,” Tyndale notes. (You may preorder the book now.)


MAI co-founder, the late James L. Johnson, would have been pleased. When few Christian writers were thinking about fiction, Jim wrote Code Name Sebastian (Zondervan 1967), the first of six novels in the Sebastian series, featuring a struggling minister who is unwittingly drawn into international spy intrigues. 


Jim recognized the power of story to communicate spiritual truth. He invested much of his life in building up the church worldwide through assisting its writers and publishers. Robin and Angela share Jim’s same passions, and that is how they arrived at such a “novel idea” for a book by that name.

>>Pre-order A Novel Idea now!




J O H N   M A U S T

M A I   P R E S I D E N T 

LittWorld 2009

November 1-6

Nairobi, Kenya

>>Read winning articles of the LittWorld writing competition.


>>Check updates on sponsorship opportunities, tourism in Kenya, leadership

workshops and more.


>>Join the LittWorld 2009 group on Facebook.


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