Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My friend Michelle Sutton has written an amazing book, "Never Without Hope". She is the master of Edgy Christian Fiction. I met Michelle online when I went searching for writers like me. We hit it off immediately. I love this book. The characters are so real. The road to getting this book published has been an amazing journey and I am so excited for her. Below is an article she wrote for "The Writer's Alley" Blog along with an excerpt of this wonderful book. I hope you enjoy it and I encourage everyone to get a copy of this amazing book.

Special Guest Saturday: Michelle Sutton and "Edgy" Fiction!

Why I Write Edgy Fiction
by Michelle Sutton

If you look up the three separate words that make up the name of my blog you will find definitions that go something like this…

Edgy - daringly innovative; on the cutting edge

Inspirational - imparting a divine influence on the mind and soul

Author - a person who writes a novel; composer of a literary work

The reason I refer to myself as the Edgy Inspirational Author and set up a blog dedicated to book reviews and giveaways with that title has to do with how well the combined definitions describe my heart for fiction.

I want to be daringly innovative and on the cutting edge when it comes to plotting and characterization. I believe the stories I write are inspired by the Lord imparting a divine influence on my mind. In other words, God always gives me a burden to write about a particular subject and I also believe He has called me to be very realistic with what I present to my readers. Last, I am an author, which is obviously a person who writes a novel.

What does this mean in a practical sense? First, I like to surprise my readers by having them think the story is going in one direction, then throw them off course and send them in a different direction. This tends to keep people guessing and reading to find out what's going to happen next. I also like to dangle a little carrot at the end of the majority of the chapters to make the reader want to continue on. I don't want people to set my books down because then they might miss out on the redemption themes in the story.

When I wrote my YA novels they were actually written as contemporary fiction for adults. My publisher and I have decided that since the majority of my readers are adults, we will re-release the two YA books in an adult series next spring. So the two characters who adopt the baby in It's Not About Him will get their own book, which actually preceded It's Not About Me when it was originally written.

To give you an idea of what this story (Letting Go, Healing Hearts, book 1) is about, I'll give you a snapshot of each main character. Diane is a lawyer who advocates for children in court. Her problem is that she is too beautiful and her upbringing as a child beauty pageant contestant taught her how to get the attention of men. Unfortunately, the men she tends to attract are already taken and just cheating with her. She doesn't want to be the other woman; she wants to be loved for who she is. So she gives up on romance and trying to please men.

Along comes Dave, a gorgeous, but sterile man who plans to adopt a foster child (toddler), and when the birth mother shows up and wants her son back, Dave goes into a full blown panic. To make matters worse, the child's case worker doesn't seem to like him and wants to rip his foster son from the only home he knows. So Dave hires Diane to help him keep his foster son and that's where the romance begins. I won't say any more because I want everyone to read the book. : )

My latest release, Never Without Hope, is my edgiest book of all. It's about a Christian woman whose husband is ignoring her in the bedroom, which begins eroding her self-esteem. Lonely and hurting, she is vulnerable to temptation and does the unthinkable when a younger man who shows interest in her comes along. But her heart is still longing for her husband.

The more she sees this new man, the more confused she gets. She becomes trapped in the sticky web of adultery and knows she must come clean, but when she does, her life blows up in her face and she risks losing everyone she cares about. This book contains quite a few sexual situations because the story revolves around sex in marriage and the damage that can be caused when one spouse neglects the other in bed. The Bible cautions against that "lest the one person cause the other to stray." My novel shows how with God involved in the healing process, married couples are never without hope.

The subject matter (marital unfaithfulness) is all too common in the church, yet no one wants to talk about it. God placed a burden on my heart to write this novel to help hurting couples, so I know He will accomplish this. However, if I had ignored the nudge from God to write this book, I can't help but wonder what the results would be. So far several marriages have been healed as a result of people reading this novel, and I'm sure there will be many more to come. With God, nothing is ever wasted. Because of this, I don't ever want to be too afraid to do what I know He wants, regardless of what other people might think.

That is, in a nutshell, why I write edgy Christian fiction. : )

The Romantic Times review for Never Without Hope~ 4 stars!!

Sutton's move into fiction for adults is packed with drama. This timely, relevant message about sex and sexual sin involving married people is quite edgy and not for those looking for a sweet romance. The realism is gritty, but ultimately uplifting and incredibly significant for the world we live in today.

Summary: Hope loves her husband and is content with her life. Yet when things begin to go wrong in the bedroom, she becomes more and more frustrated. Her husband shuts her out emotionally and physically. Though Hope never thought she would stray from her marriage, she give into temptation. Is there any possibility for redemption in her marriage?

If you are interested in this novel. Email Michelle at:

Teaser scene from chapter 4 of Never Without Hope. Like it?

Excerpt from Never Without Hope

Chapter 4

Once we arrived home, I wondered if James had really understood what I’d done. What I’d tried to tell him. He acted like nothing had changed. I readied for bed, wearing my short pink silk gown with the low cut neckline, his favorite. My long brown hair caressed my shoulders like silk. I draped a section over the front of my gown so it covered part of my breast.

I knew he liked my hair this way, so I gave it all I had, including the bedroom eyes. He gazed at me with sadness, and yearning. I wish I could take everything back and start over again. But some things couldn’t be undone.

“Come here.” My husband reached for me.

My skin tingled at his command, and he hadn’t even touched me yet.

I threw myself into his arms. “Oh, James. I love you so much.”

He held me tight for several minutes, then drew back until he could look into my eyes. “You’re my best friend, you know that? I thank God for you every day.”

Closing my eyes, I turned my head away. When he looked at me with such emotion, it haunted me. How could I have hurt him like that? I hated myself.

“Look at me, Hope.” He touched my chin and guided my head. “I want you to look me in the eyes.”

I lifted my lids and peered at him, wondering what he’d say next. Trembling at his touch. Pouring my heart out to him, but without words. I ached for intimacy and held my breath as I waited for his declaration of love.

“I’m not the man I once was, Hope. I can’t satisfy you anymore. I’m sorry.” His eyes filled with tears, and I felt lower than dirt.

Resting my head on his shoulder I held him tight. What did that mean? Was he telling me we’d never have sex again? I didn’t get it. With my face burrowed into his shoulder, I inhaled the scent of his musky skin, then asked, “What are you saying, James?”

“You deserve a younger man, a man with some life still in him. I just don’t feel well anymore. My drive is gone. I don’t know what’s wrong.” He sighed and turned away.

Maybe he hadn’t heard me when I’d told him what I’d done.

Maybe I was too vague, or he really didn’t get it. Now another chance to tell him presented itself. I could make sure he understood this time. I opened my mouth, but the words wouldn’t come.

His gaze slowly covered me from head to toe and back again.

“You are so beautiful.”

Tears now cascaded down my cheeks. “Don’t give up, James. See the doctor and ask him to help you find out what’s wrong.”

“No!” he yelled, making me jump. He shoved his finger in my face. “I’m not telling anyone about this. And you better not, either.”

“But how will it get fixed if you don’t—”

His face darkened. “I said no. I’m not talking about this anymore.” He stomped toward our bed and pulled back the sheets, then slid under them.

I stood with my mouth gaping. “Does this mean that we won’t ever—”

“Hope, honey, it’s not that bad.” His voice softened. “We love each other. What more do we need?” He peered up at me with a distant look in his eyes, like he’d resigned himself to a sexless marriage.

I hadn’t thought I was being selfish, but was I?

“James, there are things we can still do. Your hands work just fine. Sometimes I just like to kiss, you know? Nothing expected, just a kiss.”

He grunted. “Yeah, right, Hope. Come on. You know what you want.”

Was that so wrong? To want my husband? I didn’t get it. “Of course I want that, but I’ll take anything you give me, honey. Anything.”

“No! Not if I can’t follow through.” Frowning, he rolled over until he faced the wall, just like that.

Anger welled up in me. He’d given up too easily. It wasn’t right.

My fists clenched. I’d make him respond to me. I just needed to try harder to get him aroused. So I slid under the sheets and pressed against his back. With our son staying at his friend’s house, we wouldn’t have to worry about him barging in on us. So I kissed James’s hair, his neck, and inhaled deeply. My hand rested on his abdomen. I slid it lower. “Baby, let’s make some noise.”

He wedged himself between my arm and his torso and flung my hand off him. “Stop it, Hope. Just let me sleep.”

Let him sleep? Was this what I had to look forward to from our marriage from now on?


I folded my hands over my chest, stormed into our guest room, and turned on the computer. I hadn’t checked my e-mail yet, so until I cooled down, at least that would distract me from wanting to use his back as a punching bag.

After deleting junk mail, I scanned my list. Tony had e-mailed me. Excited and terrified, I gave in to the urge to find out what he’d written. My blood pumped so hard it made my ears ring.

Clicking on the message, I held my breath…

I still can’t believe what happened. It was like a dream. You make me happy.


Well, at least I made someone happy. I swallowed hard as I decided what I’d say in return. After deleting several potential replies, I ended up with this…

You were great. I will never forget what happened either. I’ll dream about it tonight, for sure.


Within seconds, he responded.

We can meet again. My wife, she is gone for two days so I am home tomorrow until I must leave for work. Call me?


His wife would be gone? Wow. That meant I could see him one more time. So what if all he wanted from me was the same thing I wanted from him. It helped me cope with a miserable situation, and from what he’d already told me about his wife, Tony wasn’t getting any action at home, either.

Okay, I’ll call you tomorrow.


Yawning, I stretched and started when my husband suddenly appeared behind me.

“Who is that e-mail from, your boyfriend?”

My face heated and I shrank from him. “Would you care if it was?”

He flinched. “Come on, Hope. I was being sarcastic. I know you’d never do that to me. Now let’s go to bed.”

“But I don’t want to sleep yet.” I gave him my most pleading look and raised the skirt of my nightie. “Touch me, James.”

“Dang it, woman! I told you how I felt! I just want you to come to bed. To sleep.”

“Then I’ll stay up.” I turned away from him.

He stormed into the other room and I heard him crack open a beer. Well, he could have his beer. I decided to watch a chick flick, since that would be the only romance I’d probably get. Too bad it had to be a fantasy, a work of fiction. I wanted the real thing, and from the looks of things, sex with my husband would never happen again.

Suddenly I felt less guilty about wanting to see Tony. If my own husband didn’t want me, then what other option did I have?

Besides, I’d only see Tony one more time. Then we’d end it. I’m sure he’d agree it was simply too risky to keep meeting, because one of these days we could get caught in the act.

I’d rather be eaten alive by sharks.