Can I have this dance?

Can I have this dance? August 9, 2013


Will you allow me to share a bit of happiness with you today?

Many of you have been on this long journey with me as a writer. You’ve been so good to me over the years that I simply want to have you dance with me briefly.

It’s a scary thing for a writer like me, who has crafted a semblance of a career as a non-fiction writer to jump out into the world of fiction.

MOTHER OF RAIN is something I’ve been working on for years. Rewriting. Rewriting. Rewriting. Giving up. Starting over. Giving up. Starting over. In some ways, the evolution of this book reflects my faith: Despair. Hope. Despair. Hope. Valleys. Mountains. Deserts. 

Today’s news comes from the top of the mountain.

The booksellers in the Southeast have named MOTHER OF RAIN as one of their top reads for Fall 2013.

They call it an OKRA Pick. Yes, that’s a pun on OPRAH. Some insiders say it’s the first step to being named an Oprah pick.

I only know that I am overwhelmed. Happy. (And sad that Mama isn’t here for this). And ohso thankful to be recognized among the likes of the very talented, hard-working novelists I have long admired. I know several of these authors personally and I respect them as people and as writers. You will recognize some of their names because I’ve recommended their books to you in the past.

You have long known me to write from my heart. But MOTHER OF RAIN comes from a deep, deep place within. A place that needed to be explored through fiction.

Making the jump from the non-fiction track to the fiction track is as scary as becoming a mom for the first time. It feels natural but you realize that you don’t exactly know what you are doing. You just pray and work and love and hope it all turns out great.

This vote of confidence from the Indie booksellers takes a bit of the edge off. I’m still scared. I’d be crazy not to be. I want you to love Maizee and Zeb and the whole community at Christian Bend.

But, for a brief moment, this news is worth dancing over.

And for calling out from the mountaintop, where on bent knee I cry: Thank you, Jesus! Bless those Indies!

If you haven’t yet, please call your local Independent bookstore and place an order for MOTHER OF RAIN. And check the Appearance tab on this blog site to see when I’ll be in your neck of the woods.

Announcing the 2013 Fall Okra Picks

Press Release


(Columbia, SC) August 9, 2013 –

Okra PicksOkra is always in season in the South, and southern indie booksellers have just picked a peck of new Okra picks–great new southern books, fresh off the vine.  A baker’s dozen of new releases, the fall season of Okra picks all have two things in common: they are southern in nature, and there is a southern indie bookseller that wants everyone to read each one!

The Fall 2013 Okra Picks List!

The Alligator Man by James Sheehan 
Center Street, $23.00 October

The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore
Broadway Books, $16.00  September

Guests on Earth by Lee Smith
Shannon Ravenel Books, $25.95 October

Lookaway, Lookaway  by Wilton Barnhardt
St. Martin’s Press, $25.99 August

Love & Lament by John Milliken Thompson
Other Press, $15.95 August

Moonrise by Cassandra King
Maiden Lane Press, $26.95 September

Mother of Rain by Karen Spears Zacharias 
Mercer University Press, $17.00 September

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
St. Martin’s Press, $26.99 September

Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon
Bloomsbury, $30.00 November

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
William Morrow, $26.99 November

The Storied South by William Ferris
UNC Press, $35.00 August

The Tilted World by Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly
William Morrow, $25.99 October

What I Came to Tell You by Tommy Hays
Egmont USA, $16.99 September

Okra Picks are chosen by Southern Indie Booksellers each season as the upcoming southern titles they are most looking forward to hand selling. For more information

Thank you for your interest in SIBA,

Wanda Jewell, Executive Director
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance
3806 Yale Avenue, Columbia, SC 29205
Fax: 309.410.0211

Trade Show #SIBA13: Sept 20-22, 2013  (Fri-Sun) at the Sheraton New Orleans

Order your copy now wherever books are sold

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  • John in PDX


  • Gary Nelson

    Oh, Karen! I’m so happy for you and excited! I’m not so surprised, though! I can’t wait for September! Once again, God’s timing is perfect. Your mama is seeing all of this and is right there with you, my friend 🙂 Blessings!

  • Charlie & Ann Marie

    Don’t forget us when you’re famous.

  • ShelbyDee

    Congratulations, Mama! So excited for you and Mother of Rain.

  • Congratulations, Karen!

  • Debbie

    Your momma is smiling down on you and so proud as we are all, congrats!! So dern happy for you sweet KSZ, can’t wait to get my book autographed…