Follow the clues to win an iPad Mini, free books and more!

Welcome to the Fall Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt, which begins on October 18, 2013 at noon, Mountain Time and ends on October 20 at midnight, Mountain Time. The hunt includes 25 stops that will introduce you to authors with new or soon-to-be released novels. If you are finding the hunt for the first time here on my blog, you’ll want to go back to Stop #1 on Lisa Bergren’s blog. Each of the 25 stops on the hunt will include a clue. Collect all the clues, then at the end fill out the Rafflecopter form back on Lisa’s site at Stop 26. If your name is drawn as a winner, be ready to provide the complete quote within 24 hours of being notified by email on October 21 or an other winner will be randomly drawn.

Grand prize: a new iPad Mini!

2nd and 3rd prizes: a print copy of every book on the hunt—25 books with a total value of over $300

Sundin #D70 ©2008 Linda Johnson Photography web  (2)And now, for Stop #24. Please welcome with me a guest post of exclusive content from Sarah Sundin, who I had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face about a month ago after knowing her online for a couple of years. Sarah Sundin is the author of five historical novels, including On Distant Shores. She lives in California with her husband and children, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and was honored to be named Mount Hermon’s 2011 Writer of the Year. You can find her at or on Facebook ( ) or Twitter ( )

Here’s the rundown on Sarah’s new book.

Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A comfortable boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie’s cozy life gets decidedly more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson. Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancée. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they’ve made?

Sundin - On Distant Shores“With her signature attention to detail and her talent for bringing characters together, Sarah Sundin pens another exciting tale in her series featuring WWII flight nurses. Fans new and old will find in On Distant Shores the perfect combination of emotion, action, and romance.

An exclusive from Sarah Sundin:

Off the Beaten Path:

7 Lessons from a Research Trip to Italy

By Sarah Sundin

When writing fiction, I love to drop my readers into the setting, so they can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell what my character senses. Visiting settings isn’t always possible—my novel With Every Letter was mostly set in North Africa, and I wrote it during “Arab Spring”—but a visit adds authenticity to the story.

In 2011, I had the privilege of visiting Italy and Southern France to research On Distant Shores and In Perfect Time in the Wings of the Nightingale series. Following these seven tips led to a productive and enjoyable research trip.

1. Know Your Story. Whether visiting a local museum or traveling overseas, you’ll have limited time. Before the trip, decide where and what you want to see, which means knowing your story. I had my series outlined enough to know where my characters would be based. You don’t want any post-visit regrets.

2. Learn the Lingo. Do enough research so you’re familiar with terminology and facts. Then you can spend your valuable time soaking up color and gathering information you can only learn on location. And yes, if you’re going overseas, learn phrases in the local language. It shows respect for the culture—and can be extremely useful.

3. Make a Plan. Consult your maps and guidebooks, and use lots of sticky tabs. Make a list of places you want to see and questions you need answered, then make a realistic itinerary.

Ancient Greek temple at Paestum, Italy, where my hero's evacuation hospital was based in On Distant Shores.

Ancient Greek temple at Paestum, Italy, where my hero’s evacuation hospital was based in On Distant Shores.

4. Document Everything. When you’re there, take notes, paying attention to the five senses—smells and sound, flora and fauna, what the air feels like. Those colorful details make the story come to life. Take a gazillion photos and video. These can be used for your website, blogging, Pinterest, and more. In fact, my husband’s photo of Pompeii is on the cover of On Distant Shores!

5. Ask Questions.Yes, even if you’re an introvert. Museum docents and park guides are experts. They love answering questions. While at the WWII museum in Anzio, I had a hysterical but informative conversation with the docent—who spoke as little English as I did Italian. We got by, and my story is richer for it.

6. Keep Your Eyes Open. None of my guidebooks listed a WWII museum in Anzio, but in town we spotted a sign: “Museo dello Sbarco di Anzio”—museum of the landings at Anzio. A tiny side room in a natural history museum, but jam-packed with artifacts and information. Be ready to leap at interesting opportunities.

Exhibit at the World War II Museum in Anzio, Italy.

Exhibit at the World War II Museum in Anzio, Italy.

7. Be Flexible. Don’t create an unrealistic itinerary, especially on long trips. Leave room for leisurely meals and beach days and shopping and non-research sightseeing, especially if you drag your family along.

With preparation, planning, open eyes, and flexibility, your research trip can be a success!

You can buy Sarah’s book on Amazon,, Of course, you can check out your local bookstores as well.

Now, before you go: Write down this information. You’ll need it to complete the quote that could win you big prizes.

Stop #25’s clue: to try

Your next stop is Sarah’s own blog. Make sure you make the rounds to all 25 stops and then enter the Rafflecopter form at Stop #26 back at Lisa Bergren’s site to be in the running for the big prizes!