My New Novel Releases Today!

Today is the day my new novel These Nameless Things flies out into the world! I’m so excited for you to read it. It’s not like any other book I’ve written, so I guess some of you will love it and some of you might be like, Huh?

These stories I write, they’re like places I’ve visited, places somewhere out there in the real world, filled with real people I know, and all I really want is for you to visit them with me, for us to go there together, and for you to enjoy the journey.

I hope you enjoy this one.

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Would you do me the honor of ordering my book today, on launch day? Here are just a few places you can find it (if you have a favorite local bookstore, by all means, order it there!):

Aaron’s Books (Lititz, PA)
Baker Bookhouse
Barnes and Noble
Hearts and Minds Bookstore 

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Some people ask how best they can help on a day like this, when a new book stumbles out into the world. Well, besides ordering a copy for you and maybe one for a friend, here are a few FREE things you can do to help:

– call your local library (or go online) and request that they carry it on their shelves (or digitally)
– add it to your Goodreads “to-read” list
– once you read it, be sure to review it on Amazon, B&N,, and wherever else you can review books
– forward this email to a bunch of your friends and say, “You have to buy this book!”

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I am reminded again of my first novel, The Day the Angels Fell, and how it was all of you that made that thing happen, how you supported my Kickstarter and then, when it was released by a publisher, how so many of you bought another copy. You all have been so wonderful to me through the years, such excellent readers, and you’ve really helped me grow into this writing career. We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last four years!

So, today is really a day for all of us to celebrate. I guess in this world we never know what the next day might hold. I’m thankful I get to do this, that I get to keep writing books.

Thank you.

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Finally, I’m going to be documenting this launch day over on my Instagram stories. #TheseNamelessThingsLaunch And our next podcast at The Stories Between Us will be little snippets of Maile and me through the day, talking about how it feels to launch a book. This episode of our podcast will launch Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. I hope you’ll join us.

Today is the Big Day!


It’s time to release another book into the world, and this one feels like a long time coming.

Light from Distant Stars.

Can I be honest on here and tell you I’m just plain tuckered? I’m sitting in a motel room at a writer’s conference with five talks to give this week, plus I’m speaking at my church this weekend, and we’ve got a book launch party Friday night. I’ve done 10 podcast interviews in the last week or so. Oh, and I’ve just handed in a novel that’s slated to come out next summer. And I’m busier than ever with co-writing, my day job.


I need some sleep. But then there’s the small issue of this book.

This book means so much to me. The story is near and dear to my heart. The characters have become a world all their own, almost like memory to me. I am so eager for you to read it. Sooooo…can you help me get it out into the world?

Here are just a few of the places you can get it:

Aaron’s Books, Lititz, PA – call 717-627-1990
Baker Bookhouse
Barnes and Noble
Hearts and Minds Bookstore 

This is what some folks are saying about it:

“A tense novel exploring the breadth and limitations of loyalty, forgiveness, and faith, Light from Distant Stars is a memorable dive into the human psyche.” Foreword Reviews

“Light From Distant Stars expertly traverses the past and present of a man whom readers can’t help but root for and adore.” Interviews and Reviews

Here are a few of the ways you can help:

– Buy the book as a gift to yourself or a friend! Or both! It’s also a great book club read, so consider it for your book club.
– Share this post on social media by clicking the little buttons below!
– Call or email your local library and ask if they can carry it.
– Forward this email to friends who you think would be interested in reading the book.
– And, once you’ve read the book, please review it on Goodreads, Amazon, and any other online sites!

You guys are amazing. Thanks for all of your wonderful support. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you, my faithful friends and readers.

Have a wonderful week. Enjoy your summer! Now, I’m going to bed. (Which sounds weird because even though I’m writing this at night, you’re probably reading it in the morning…oh well.)

My Great-Great-Grandfather Wrote on Barn Walls (or, Some Thoughts on Creativity, and the Cover of My Next Book)

I’m sitting at the small red table beside one of our large living room windows, looking out at James Street. There’s our porch, the wide sidewalk, the busy street. There is the sycamore tree, ancient and leaning, the leaves gently browning in this mid-autumn light. It is 50 degrees and the sun is shining, shining, shining, as if summer is still within its grasp.

My book, Once We Were Strangers, released only last week, but I am in the thick of editing my next novel, one that releases in July of 2019. I can tell you now that it’s called Light from Distant Stars, and it’s the most challenging story I’ve ever tried to write. It is a standalone novel for grownups, not connected with my YA novel The Day the Angels Fell. But I have lots of time to tell you more about that.

What I want to tell you today, or share with you I guess, is the fact that even in the writing of this current book, in working through the edits, I am assailed by voices of self-doubt and questions about my ability to write well. There has been no magic turning point, at least not for me, where I have woken up self-confident and swaggering, convinced that I am finally the writer I have always wanted to be. Not when I co-wrote my first book and saw it in Barnes and Noble in 2008. Not when I signed a contract with my first agent, or landed a book contract, or when The Day the Angels Fell won an award.

And yet. There has been something magical about the last few weeks, a kind of turning point. I have experienced a peace in who I am, in what I write, in the words that I share – no matter the sales numbers, no matter the Amazon rank, no matter the mentions or shares or high-profile praise (or lack thereof). I am determined to enjoy each of my writing days, to work hard at getting better, to read more widely, and to sink deep, deep, deep into the stories I am creating. God is there, somewhere, waiting for me.

I know now that there is no Promised Land in the distance where, once there, I will have arrived – this creative life is nothing but a journey, nothing but one more word, one more sentence, one more chapter, and one more story.

This is what I offer you today, in whatever creative pursuits you are digging into: give yourself the freedom to chase excellence, to go after whatever creative thing is calling your name. Don’t be afraid, and when you are, let it fill you with exhilaration at the risks you are taking. Keep going. Keep moving. Keep breathing. Be present, really present, wherever you are.

This isn’t just for writing – it’s for painting and photography and starting a business and running for office. It’s for when you become a parent or get married or take a trip or start a church. Keep going. Keep moving. Keep breathing.

Anyway, these are my thoughts today, looking out the window onto James Street, watching the traffic go by, pondering a sycamore tree that was probably planted when my great-great-grandfather was a boy – the same man who used to write on the walls of his barn, stories and news and thoughts about life. That is all I am really doing here. That is all any of us are doing.

And here is the cover of my next novel, in case you were interested.

The Best Kind of Messages (or, When Maile Finished Writing Her Book)

You know how days run along like a stream and all through that fluid movement you receive texts or emails or say hello to people you pass in the street and everything blends together into a seamless day but then something happens and everything stops, the sounds around you fade, and you see something, really see it? That happened to me yesterday at about two in the afternoon when Maile sent me the email in the photo. When I read it, everything else stopped.

She finished writing her book.

On the day she turned 40, she finished writing her book.

An upper-middle grade book that is delightful and moving. I can’t wait to read it in its entirety. I can’t wait for you to read it.

If you’ve been following along in this space for the last few months you’ll know that this has been a time of huge transition for our family. 3/4ths of our school age kids are going to public school in the fall. We decided not to move out of the city. And as a family, we began setting aside time for Maile to write.

Her finishing this book seems like an affirmation in so many ways, mostly that we are doing the right things and moving in the right direction and taking better care of each other.

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We celebrated by going out to Wasabi, our favorite sushi place, and we took the kids and Leo was super-tired and Poppy was mostly grumpy and wouldn’t let Maile eat her food but we celebrated anyway, all of us raising our glasses (of water, of root beer, of Sprite, of lemonade), a resounding “Cheers!” sounding out. Leo laughed at that.

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So we’ll take the next month or two and focus on revisions and then she’ll wade into the publication process and who knows how that will go but we’re hopeful. Always hopeful.

Thanks for all your encouragement.

Today is the Day! #TheEdgeofOverThere

Today is the day, my friends. The Edge of Over There is releasing into the world. You have all been such loyal readers, so I hesitate to ask you for one more thing, but if you want to help, here are a few things you can do to help this book find its way:

– buy a copy of The Edge of Over There.

– call your local library and see if they carry The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There. If they don’t, ask them if they can!

– if you already have a copy, post a photo of the book beside your beautiful face on Instagram with the hashtag #TheEdgeofOverThere.

– Forward this post to a bunch of friends who love to read and suggest they check out The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There.

– Cut and paste this, or something more personalized, into the social media site of your choice:

Today is release day for Shawn Smucker’s novel #TheEdgeofOverThere! Check it out here:

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Again, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you. I wouldn’t be here if you folks hadn’t been reading me for years, supporting my work, and encouraging me constantly.

A Solution to Mid-Summer Boredom

Photo by Rawpixel via Unsplash

It’s that time of year. The days are long and hot. The children are getting restless. Everyone is looking for something to do.

Look no further.

I’m creating a four-part video series on how to write your own story, an introductory look into fiction writing. The first video will give you or a child you love a few hints and insights into how to create a character. That video is free! You can find it at the bottom of this page.

If you want the remaining three videos delivered to your inbox (videos on setting, conflict, and plot), all you have to do is preorder my book, The Edge of Over There, before it releases on Tuesday and then fill in your order information HERE.