Several years ago, my wife Maryanne was struck by an inspiration that just seemed to carry her away. The result was a novel entitled Blackberry Winter, a work of contemporary women’s fiction with a Christian perspective. It’s not the kind of book that I would ever pick up, and yet I have to say that as an exploration of the nature of emotional and spiritual healing, it is really good. The characters are well drawn and genuinely interesting, the plot serves the theme well, and I frankly think that the publishers we contacted who turned her down were missing a good bet.

Well, one of the wonderful things about the Internet is that it allows aspiring writers to go around the traditional gatekeepers. That being the case, we’ve published Blackberry Winter on both Smashwords and Amazon. It’s a full-length novel of over 100,000 words, so we’ve set the price at $1.99. If you have doubts about whether an unknown author is worth that, however, you can get the first 20% of the book for free at Smashwords. If you like it, you can buy the rest in any ten formats (MOBI for Kindle, EPUB, PDF, RTF, LRF, Palm Doc, Plain Text online or download, or you can read it online in HTML or JavaScript). You can also buy it for the Kindle direct from Amazon, where whence you can download it straight to your gadget. For that matter, if you don’t have a Kindle, you can get the free Kindle for PC (or Mac) app from Amazon, and read Kindle content on your computer. You can also get a free sample from Amazon.

However you do it, I highly recommend that you take a look at it. I think you’ll be pleased. Oh, and if you are, spread the word, and write a review.

Here’s the “product description” from Amazon:

We live in a world full of wounded souls. People sometimes seem determined to invent new ways to make one another miserable. Sometimes we wallow in our victimization, leaving ourselves without the emotional resources to find healing. Understanding the hurts we suffer, forgiving those who caused them, and finding the faith to step into the future are all crucial to surviving the past and moving on to a joyful season of life. Blackberry Winter is about that process.

Brian McClellan and Emily Stone are two wounded people frozen into the misery of the past. He is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War who lost a hand and a leg. She is the product of an abusive childhood. Neither really understands the dynamic of their own emotional pain. They know only that they live in a perpetual winter. When they find each other, they think they have found happiness, that they are free to explore life as other people live it, together. The couple feels that surely spring has come. But when Emily becomes a victim of sexual assault, they discover that the past holds the key to the present, and that their future hangs on the struggle to to come to terms with suffering. Blackberry Winter is about that struggle.

This book is aimed at men and women who have been though times of intense pain, and whose ability to relate to others has been damaged in the process. Brian and Emily are not heroes, but ordinary people whom readers will identify with as their relationship flowers, stalls, grows, faces terrible crisis, and triumphs over it. Blackberry Winter is about that triumph.