10 Gifts (A Christmas Micro-Giveaway)

If there's anything I've heard about my book, Coming Clean, it's this: "I bought this book for the alcoholic in my life, but as I read, I found it was actually a book for me." Don't take my word for it, though.

"When you open this book, your index finger may be pointing at someone else. By page 2, you realize its pointed directly at you." ~Kathryn Stephens, via Amazon.

"When I first heard of Coming Clean by Seth Haines, I figured I wouldn't connect with the book. After all, I'm not an addict. But, as Haines says in his invitation, we are all addicted to something. This book isn't about addiction but about the human experience." ~Annie, via Amazon.

I hope Coming Clean is a more universal book, that it tells some truth of the human experience. Even more, I hope Coming Clean is a book that starts micro-conversations about pain, addiction, healing, and the very real presence of the abiding God.

What is a Micro-Conversation?

We live in a Big Idea world, a Ted-talking, media-grabbing, conference-gathering sort of place. We live in a place where the loudest ideas are disseminated the most broadly. Messages are beaten, beaten, beaten into our heads, and we buy them, often before we've had a chance to vet them.

The idea of inner-sobriety--confronting pain, rejecting addiction, and walking into forgiveness and healing--is not meant to be unpacked in that Big Idea, conference-circuit world. The idea of inner-sobriety (the coming clean from all addictions) is best suited for an authentic, smaller community, for firesides or dinner-tables, for back-porches and rocking chairs. It is best suited for tiny and continuing conversations, for micro-conversations.

In the micro-conversation, we look into each other's eyes. In the micro-conversation, we field confessions, dry tears, walk from isolation and into accountable community. The micro-conversations facilitate healing. At least, that's been my experience.

Step Into the Micro-Conversation.

When the good folks at Zondervan asked my hopes for Coming Clean, I said, "I hope it starts a few tiny conversations." Today, I'm putting legs to that hope.

Coming Clean is a book that unpacks well wherever two or more are gathered. In other words, it's a good community read. Discuss it in community. Journal your own path to coming clean in community. Community is key--see? (See Eph. 5:18-19)

And to help you start your own micro-conversation, I'm offering a sort of Christmas giveaway.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

For the first ten people who order a copy of Coming Clean TODAY (Amazon, Barnes & Noble), I'll send you an additional, totally free, and possibly signed copy. (Date-stamped proof of purchase required.) It's my hope that you'll use this free copy to start your own micro-conversation, whether with a friend, in a book club, in a church group, or around your dinner table.

If you order your copy, FOLLOW THIS LINK TO MY FACEBOOK PAGE, and leave a comment letting me know. If you're in the first ten, you'll receive a free book! Think of it as a micro-Christmas giveaway.

Thanks so much for reading along, and thank you for reading Coming Clean. So many of you have started these micro-conversations, and I couldn't be more grateful.


Coming Clean: A Story of Faith, is available. You can order online wherever good books are sold, or visit your local Barnes & Noble and pick up your copy!


CC Austin OuttakesThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. If you sign up, you'll receive my free eBook, Coming Clean|Austin Outtakes. The Outtakes share the story behind my latest release from Zondervan, Coming Clean|A Story of Faith.

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Clap, Clap, Clap (A Coming Clean Giveaway)

In less than one week, my first book, Coming Clean releases. The final edits have been completed, the design and layout phases are in the bag. The books are boxed in warehouses in Des Moines, Dallas, and Saskatoon ([tweetherder]I've always wanted to use the word "Saskatoon" in a sentence[/tweetherder]), and are awaiting the arrival of various and sundry delivery trucks. This is the liminal space, the space between publication and distribution.

What is Coming Clean?

Coming Clean is my story, a narrative account of my walk from misplaced dependency, through pain, and into the presence of an abiding God. It's a story involving alcohol dependency, sure. It is not a story about alcohol dependency, though. It is not just for those who've wrestled with the demons of substance abuse, or eating disorders, or name-the-addiction-du-jour. It is more.

Early readers have written kinds words about Coming Clean, and they've found their own connection points with the story. Shauna Niequist, author of Bread & Wine and Savor has written, "Seth writes with a distinctly Southern sensibility—elegant, evocative, lyrical--and his wisdom and honesty shine through every page, gently illuminating our own fears and secret hearts along the way."

I hope you'll find illumination for your secret heart in the pages. I hope you'll enter your own journey of coming clean.

An Invitation

Today, I'd like to invite you to help spread the word about Coming Clean.   If you do (and let me know in the comments below), I'll place you in a drawing for a free signed copy.

"How do I help?" I'm glad you asked.

FOLLOW THIS LINK to sign up for the Coming Clean Thunderclap campaign before Sunday, October 25th. When you sign up, Thunderclap will schedule a message to be sent from your Twitter and Facebook accounts at 11:00 a.m. (CST) on October 27.

For bonus entries, let your Facebook friends and Twitter followers know about your support of the Coming Clean Thunderclap campaign, using the hashtag #ComingCleanBook. Simple enough, eh?

Don't forget to let me know if you're Thunderclapping with the rest of us.


Many of you have been gracious with your support over the last two years of my journey. You've supported my writing, and have offered good encouragement. I appreciate it more than you could possibly know.


Cover.FrancisThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. If you sign up, you'll receive access to my serial eBook, Dear Little Brothers.

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The Places I've Been

Oh, hey there. It's been a crazy season here in world Haines, and if I went about the business of explaining it all, I'd bore you to tears, or at least to clicking off to your favorite online retailer. There's business to be done, children to raise, and a to-do lists that stretches from the Ozarks to the Rockies. In all of that (and more to be sure), it's the little things--like keeping up this little writing space--can fall by the wayside.

But in 400 words or less, allow me to catch you up on team Haines. Take a deep breath. Ready?

Amber took a break from raising children and chickens to birth her debut book, Wild in the Hollow. We threw a raucous book-release party on the hottest day of the summer; the air conditioner was on the fritz; everyone sweated buckets while Amber read. There was cake, though. Cake makes everything cooler.




Music reading Cake

Good folks came in for the book release, so there was a weekend of entertaining. We sat around the big table and talked life. We laughed a little too hard, which is always good medicine. Austin listened to his wife without interjection or contradiction, only love. The world could use more conversations like the ones we had.



A week later, our little church gathered on a Sunday and sent a girl to college. She was our first to fly the coop. God bless her. Everyone cried, especially her mother and father.

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In all this hustle and bustle, Amber and I bought a house. Ironic? Sure. (You understand this irony if you've read Wild in the Hollow.) But hey, things change. Right? To everything turn, turn, turn. Those Byrds (and King Solomon) had a few things right.

Under the cover of night, my little book, Coming Clean,  started its own giveaway on Goodreads. It was an awkward move on its part, and we had a little conversation, the book and I. "You can't go launching yourself to the world without my permission," I said. "Watch me," he said. Looks like I have a teenager on my hands. (While you're at it, though, would you consider entering the giveaway?)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Coming Clean by Seth Haines

Coming Clean

by Seth Haines

Giveaway ends October 06, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Amber wrote about the Ashley Madison scandal, but not before calling to make sure my name wasn't on the list. (Hey, we're all human here.) It was a gutsy article to be sure. Take a gander. I wrote a few words about doubt, and boy did they hit home. I followed up that little Facebook post with a TinyLetter on the same subject. "A TinyLetter?" you ask. Yes. A TinyLetter. You can sign up here (or click the photo to redirect to my TinyLetter). 7a082db7-48c1-48ec-b33e-d99f897eeb7c We're running, running, running, and I'm not sure whether we're going or coming. At least we're still breathing, which is some testament of grace. What kind of grace? Who knows. But we're living into it. I'll be back regularly next week. It'll be September, which is National Recovery Month. I might have a few things to say about that. Thanks for reading along, and carry peace today. While we're all here, let's shut this down the way we shut the Wild in the Hollow release party down; shall we?

  Closing down the #wildinthehollow book party. Thanks for a special evening, all.   A video posted by Seth Haines (@sethhaines) on



Cover.FrancisThanks for stopping in! If you enjoy reading here, sign up to receive my bi-monthly Tiny Letter. In the first of edition of the July newsletter, I'm discussing growing young. I'm also giving away Chapter 3 of Dear Little Brothers, a serial eBook. Sign up in the box below to receive Chapter 1 and look for the July Tiny Letter in your inbox to download the other chapters!


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Happy New Year! (Am I A Little Late?)

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”― Stephen King

Am I late in my New Years well wishes?

Let me explain.

I took a break from the old blog for a couple of months, in part as an effort to deal with some of the rougher edges of life, and in part to grow this awesome beard. I returned for a spit, but only before loading a jet plane for Ethiopia where the internet moved at a tortoise's pace. This is to say that I have a rather decent excuse for waiting until January 13 to extend my New Year greetings.

Alas, I've always been a bit behind.

I suppose I could spend days and days telling you of the many mind-blowing things I saw in Ethiopia, and I suppose I will share some of them when the time is right. For now, though, let me just say that I'm glad to be back home. I'm glad to be sipping coffee in my morning chair and pecking at the keyboard. When I'm being most myself, pecking at the keyboard is what I do (whether it's here at the blog, or in the journal, or otherwise).

My keyboard pecking over the last few months has been inhibited, though. So we're on the same page, allow me to explain.

Last March, I finished a short-ish book. It's a novel of a thing, and before you ask, no, it isn't slated for publication anytime soon. That being said, after I put the closing period on the work, after I walked away to let the thing air out, I found myself exhausted. (I might say it felt like the tired that sets in after giving birth to a baby, but how would I know that? I'm a fella with little right to use these kinds of metaphors.) In that exhaustion, I stepped away from reading the quality, longer-form writings of others. To be clear, I think I read one book (a beautiful work by Mandy Steward) and less than a half-dozen of readable magazines since mid-April of 2013. (As an aside, and in an attempt to justify my lazy reading habits, I read a great deal of poetry from Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, and Rumi. I also listened to a great deal of Arlo Guthrie, which is neither here nor there.)

Mandy steward

This year, I'm inclined to right the ship and get back to my previous reading habits. So, I'm memorializing my New Year's resolution here. A poem a day? Check. A magazine article a week, something from Oxford American or Harper's? Check. Continue working on one of the many books on my shelf? Check.

This, my friends, is where you come in. In the coming days, I'll be reading a friend's latest work (more on that soon), and I'm looking forward to it. But in the meantime, I'm wondering--which books do you think I should read in 2014? I'm open to suggestions, and feel free to diversify your selections--fiction, non-fiction, poetry collections, text books (but if it's scholarly text, it better be crazy-interesting). And if you make a suggestion in the comments, leave an Amazon link so I can one-click my way to it.

I'm glad to be back at the keys, and I hope to see you around on a more regular basis. For now, though, give me a book title or three! Who's first?!?

The Creation Voice (A Book Update)

It is said that in the beginning, God created the heavens with nothing but the word of his mouth. Light, water, sky, vegetation, sun, moon, stars, fish, animals--he created them all with nothing more than a phrase. Atoms to atoms; molecules to molecules; cells to cells. The foundations of the world were set in motion with almighty statements. Imperatives. Sometimes I wonder about God's inflection, whether his voice thundered across the void, or whether it was stiller, smaller. Like a whisper. Was it firm and unbending, or was it full of wonder and excitement? Were his pre-man words compassionate, even then knowing that the coming prize of all creation would require salvation from a good and loving God? Was he giddy about the story that was about to unfold?

I don't know the answer to these questions, not beyond a reasonable doubt, anyway. But what I know is that in the beginning God spoke.

I've been thinking about the creative power of words, lately. My morning commute lasts all of about fifteen minutes on the busiest of days, and each day I've been taking to dictation. I speak into my mobile device allowing some app to transliterate my speech to text. It is an imperfect act of creation, the app sometimes substituting "transliterate," for "translate" (see above), but it's an act of creation nonetheless.

People ask why I came to writing. I've been prone to it since I was a kid, I say. I once wrote a short story about the resurrection of the dead, that great biblical event, using frogs as the object of the rapture. The good folks of the fictional town of Almer ran around shrieking at the sight of frog bones hopping heavenward to meet Jesus in the air. Only ten years old, I postulated that we got all this pre-trib/post-trib stuff wrong, figuring that it was only the amphibians who were worthy of being spared the wrath of the Antichrist. Best I can remember, it was my first short story. All this is neither here nor there. It's just an anecdote I thought you might enjoy. Sometimes the act of creation is that simple.

But always, the screen begins blank. A white canvas. It's the writer's job to use voice to muck it all up, to ink it into something useful, feelable, breathable, tasteable, maybe even something over which the reader laughs and cries. That act of writing is a metaphor. Without voice, without words, there would be nothing. No atoms; no molecules; no cells.

Only empty space.

I've recently finished a longish piece of fiction. I'm not sure whether to call it a "novel" or "novella" just yet. There's still a final set of revisions, and perhaps an editor needs to put their hands on it. But through this process of creation, I've found characters that I've come to love, characters that seem real to me.

Weird? Maybe. Metaphor? Absolutely.

Over the coming months, I'm inviting you behind the scenes. We'll see whether my piece has the stuff to make it past mere manuscript phase. Will my characters leave my briefcase? Or will they live more introverted lives in the quieter places? I'm hoping for the former, but only time will tell. And I'll keep you updated along the way.

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