2012 Releases: January – April

Here are the books my clients have released in the first four months of 2012. (Lots more coming in May!)

Man on the Run coverMan on the Run: Helping Hyper-Hobbied Men Recognize the Best Things in Life
by Zeke Pipher

(Howard/Simon & Schuster)

Publishers Weekly: Both an outdoorsman and writer as well as pastor of the Heartland Evangelical Free Church in Nebraska, Pipher notes, “As a pastor, I spend several hours a week counseling pursuit-driven, ambitious men” in need of strategies to form healthy relationships. Reflecting on a period when he had 34 hobbies, Pipher observes that while many “hyper-hobbied” men are motivated by a desire for adventure, a need for challenge, and an inability to suffer a dull moment, a surfeit of activity leads these men to neglect those who are close to them. He examines issues and ideas he’s learned from personal experiences and those of his family, friends, and others. Pipher’s optimistic, up-tempo essays encompass a wide range of subjects: ambition, community, competition, depression, fatherhood, friendship, loneliness, loyalty, marriage, shame, and strength of character. His flair for motivational writing peaks in the final chapter when he outlines how active, hard-charging men are driven by dream images of the future they desire. “Dreaming is easy,” Pipher writes. “The challenge is choosing the best dreams.”

Sweeter than Birdsong coverSweeter than Birdsong
by Rosslyn Elliott

(Thomas Nelson)

Publishers Weekly: Kate Winter’s dream of being one of the first women to graduate from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, in 1855, is shattered when her fear of public speaking wreaks havoc. But even more than graduating, she dreams of fleeing the hidden brokenness of her family and starting anew. As she makes plans, Kate is drawn to fellow student and songwriter Ben Hanby, whose musicale offers her a chance to escape, but also opens her heart to a future she couldn’t foresee. The pair becomes embroiled in a daring slave rescue which not only brings them together but reveals to Kate the evils of slavery and the work of the Underground Railroad. Author Elliot (Fairer than Morning) creates a pleasing blend of fact and fiction in this second installment in the Saddler’s Legacy series. Hanby is best known for his song “Up on the Housetop,” and slave rescuer John Parker is a real figure large enough to seem legend. Readers will appreciate the well-told tale as well as its historical basis.

Always the Designer, Never the Bride
by Sandra D. Bricker

(Abingdon Press)

Library Journal: Clothing designer Audrey’s greatest accomplishment so far is designing nine of her friends’ wedding dresses. She has just vowed never to do it again when her best friend, Carly, asks her to come home to Atlanta and design hers. Feeling trapped, Audrey obliges, but the wedding preparations have her wondering whether she will ever be a bride herself. But when Audrey meets J.R., the groom’s tattooed, Harley-riding brother and best man, it seems she just might be designing a wedding gown of her own in the not-too-distant future. VERDICT Bricker’s quaint contemporary refreshingly lacks the preachy tone of so many Christian romances. Audrey is a three-dimensional character dealing with real issues (like struggling to pay bills), and the chemistry between the two protagonists is believable. This third humor-filled series entry (Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride; Always the Baker, Never the Bride) should appeal to readers who enjoy Melody Carson.

Stars in Her Eyes cover

Stars in Her Eyes
by Erica Vetsch

(Barbour/Heartsong Presents)

Should he marry to please his church or follow his heart? Pastor Silas Hamilton has always been of the opinion that when he meets the woman God intends for him to marry, he’ll know her immediately. And so far, she hasn’t appeared.

But when he rescues a young woman from a near-fall into the river, he feels that mysterious connection he’s been waiting for. It isn’t until later, when he attends a play at the newly opened theater in town that he realizes his dreams have been caught up in the lovely Willow Starr—an actress bound for the bright lights of New York City.

Can a pastor love an actress? Certainly — but only if she’s willing to abandon the stage for the life of a pastor’s wife.

Her Restless HeartHer Restless Heart
by Barbara Cameron

(Abingdon Press)

Mary Katherine is caught between the traditions of her faith and the pull of a different life. When Daniel, an Amish man living in Florida, arrives and shares her restlessness, Mary Katherine feels drawn to him and curious about the life he leads away from Lancaster County. But her longtime friend Jacob has been in love with her for years. He’s discouraged that she’s never viewed him as anything but a friend and despairs that he is about to lose Mary Katherine to this outsider.

Will the conflicted Mary Katherine be lost to the Englisch world—or will she embrace her Amish faith and recognize Jacob as the man she should marry and build a life with?


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Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. R. M. Evans on May 15, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Ooh, I have a bad habit of knowing what I’m doing for the beginning of the book, then I have an amazing idea for the end. so I kind of finish it and read it a year later, only to find out… THERE’S NO MIDDLE! Then it really makes me mad because it was a good book! Yeah, I’m twelve and I have an extremely rare passion for writing. I have one friend who writes and we wrote a book together until she ditched me after eighty pages and now its nowhere, stuck in my Math binder or something. So yeah… Thanks for helping. 🙂

  2. Philip Heckman on May 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    We can learn something from those story synopses: They all sound like excerpts from successful query letters.

  3. Buffy MacDonald Crabtree on April 30, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Should be very interesting reads, Rachelle! Sounds like you’ve been busy.
    “Sweeter Than Birdsong” was already on my list.

    • Rosslyn Elliott on April 30, 2012 at 3:26 AM

      Thanks, Buffy! I hope you enjoy it.

  4. Cherry Odelberg on April 29, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Congratulations on such a successful first quarter!

  5. Lindsay Harrel on April 29, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Very nice! Congrats to you and your clients for all of your/their hard work!

    And can’t wait to see Katie Ganshert’s “Wildflowers from Winter” and Beth Vogt’s “Wish You Were Here” on the shelves in May!

  6. Marla Taviano on April 29, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Congratulations, Rachelle! Rosslyn’s book intrigues me because I live 5 minutes from Otterbein College, and my girls learned all about Ben Hanby in school. Small world!

    • Rosslyn Elliott on April 30, 2012 at 3:25 AM

      Marla, thanks for commenting! I hope you get to read it–I do have Westerville friends who have said it made the town come alive for them in a new way. This is one of my *favorite* reader responses. 🙂 And it’s true for me as well: after my time writing the series, I can’t walk around Otterbein without feeling the presence of those who were there in the 19th century. It helps that their homes are still there.

  7. K.L. Parry on April 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Nice, Rachelle!

  8. Rachel Pudelek on April 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Beautiful covers! Thanks for sharing. It’s always nice to see what’s coming out. 🙂

  9. Terri Forehand on April 29, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Can’t wait to get the Christian fiction, the genre I would love to write when I am not writing for children. Thanks for sharing this list.

  10. Savannah Chase on April 29, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Wonderful covers on all of them. They all sound like wonderful reads.

  11. Patricia Zick on April 29, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Very eclectic collection – interesting reads all, I’m sure.

  12. Sue Harrison on April 29, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    Thank you for this post, Rachelle. It alerted me to 2 books I hadn’t read yet. Just ordered them!

  13. donkimrey on April 29, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    Very impressive. Did you write the intros? I’ve published my first book, and would welcome help from someone like you. I’m not certain how I received this email, but I’m certainly glad to receive it and will look further into the kind of work you seek. donkimrey

  14. sally apokedak on April 29, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Love the cover of Man on the Run. Well…all the covers are nice. But the first one is really striking, I think.