Posts

Showing posts from 2009

Jumping on the Bandwagon

I think I'll be taking a blog break too. My dad and brother, who I haven't seen in over two years, might be coming to my house soon so I'm really excited!

I'll probably still be visiting blogs on my free time. I am an addict, after all. *wink*

What family did you see this year? Was it stressful or fun? Are you ready to go back to the comfortable insanity of normal life?

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Isaiah 9:6-7 (New King James Version)
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace


Author Rachel Hauck on Agent/Author Relationships, Last Part

Here's the last part of Rachel's post! I hope you all find it helpful. You can find Rachel at her website, blog or at My Book Therapy.
Here she is:


Already have an agent?

1. Pray. Seriously, pray for your agent, the agency and the other clients.

2. Ask for a call once in awhile to keep communication open. If you’re not working on a project, or needing help, schedule a short call just to touch base. But make it brief.

3. When going into a contract negotiations, schedule a call with your agent to set expectations. Talk through all the possible ramifications of your deal. Ask for a marketing plan as part of the contract.

4. Ask for advice on marketing and promotions outside the publishers plan.

5. Ask your agent to be in the loop with your publisher on book covers, promotional plans, editorial ideas and issues.

6. If there are issues you believe your agent should’ve handled and did not, schedule a call. Don’t fester over it. And pray! Have an honest talk about your needs and expectations…

Official Kissing Day

This Mistletoe Day was thought up by Katie and Sherrinda. Thanks ladies!

Two of my favorite characters, kissing it up!

Later, Prue would blame her actions on her vulnerable state. She might even blame them on his vulnerable state, but in the second before she kissed him, she thought she might be in love.

She leaned forward, on tiptoes, and pressed her lips against his ferocious anger. At first he was unyielding, but she didn’t give up. She needed the contact, and if she was being too bold, she didn’t care.
Death did not wait, it came when it pleased, and she would have this kiss.
She wasn’t quite sure how to do it, but she moved her lips against his, needing him to respond. When he did, it was as though she’d unleashed something she couldn’t control. His mouth slanted over hers, warm and smooth. He pressed her against him, his hands spreading across her back, his fingers burning through her shirt to sear the skin beneath. He wasn’t gentle, but that did not shock her. She kissed him for h…

Part 2: Author Rachel Hauck on the Agent/Author Relationship

To read part one, go here.
And now Rachel:


Here’s my advice on finding or working with an agent.

1. Ask God to direct you to the right agent. After talking with other writers, and watching the publishing world, it’s possible that some agents are wonderful for launching your career, but another agent will take you the rest of the way. I’m not sure how to recognize this with any particular agent, but go into your agent relationship with full confidence and faith that you’ll be together forever while keeping your ear to the heartbeat of Jesus. He will let you know if change is required. Pray for your relationship with your agent.

2. Be professional. Do your homework. Follow agent sites like Gardner’s and MacGregor’s. Thomas Nelson CEO, Michael Hyatt gives advice on how to find an agent. Meet with agents at conferences. Talk to other authors about agents or agencies. Look at agent or agency web sites.

3. Who does your potential agent represent? Look at their client list. Is this a good “field…

Author Rachel Hauck on the Agent/Author Relationship Part 1

Author Rachel Hauck was kind enough to offer some advice about finding and working with literary agents. Thank you so much Rachel!

Here she is:



I wasn’t looking for an agent when an author and friend called after reading the opening chapter of my first chick lit. Enthusiastic, (don’t you love those calls?) she suggested I submit the work to her agent. After learning of the agent’s reputation and client list, I whole heartily agreed.
Up to this point, I wasn’t confident I was ready for an agent. I had one Heartsong published and wasn’t working on anything bigger, like a trade book. Then I started writing a chick lit in late ‘03.
There’s a tendency to get in a hurry. Seeing other authors pick up agents, sell trade books out of the gate, win awards. “What, am I wood? Am I standing still?” you may ask yourself.
Don’t be in a hurry.
My prayer has always been and remains, “Lord, You’re my editor, agent and promoter.”
I signed with my first agent in early ‘04. She really challenged me to go deeper…

Snoop Dogg and Me

The other day I read a post by a fellow blogger and in it she mentioned Tupac and put up a video. I had never heard his songs but knew my husband used to listen to him all the time, so together we looked up some old videos.

As we sat and watched old videos, it became apparent to me that each of these big-time, famous rappers have a very unique voice. After watching only a few videos, I'm sure if I heard these rappers on the radio, I'd recognize their style.

Funny thing is that over ten years later, Hubby still knows the lyrics to Snoop Dogg, Tupac and Dr. Dre songs (and I was a little horrified his parents let him listen to them, lol.)

I'm still trying to sort through what this means for our writing.

What does it mean to have a unique voice? Will it get us published faster? Do you think the more you write the more your voice will shine through? Or do some people have it, and some people don't?

I've been tagged!

Jeannie tagged me!
Now for some info on my writerly habits, etc. :

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?

I still have a short story I wrote on a little pad of paper when I was in seventh grade. It was a suspense with a happy ending. :-) The last thing I wrote were notes in my WIP about where I want the story to head next.

2. Write poetry?

Not really.

3. Angsty poetry?

I don't really know. What's angsty? Feel free to leave an example in the comments. LOL

4. Favorite genre of writing?

Historical and Contemporary romance; Romantic suspense

5. Most annoying character you've ever created?

My first heroine. I love her, but about half the people who read her (contests, critters, etc) hated her and said she was really annoying. Heh.

6. Best Plot you've ever created?

Not sure yet. :-) Maybe the one that sells? LOL

7. Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?

The hero is two people in the book, but the reader doesn't know that…

Transitioning and Computer Hogging

I'm a little behind in reading posts because I've (horror of horrors) been having to share MY internet with Hubby. Back in the day, the computer was all mine. But now Hubbalicious has decided to create a fishing show, so my internet time has been limited.

Thanks to a friend, I was able to install a router for my laptop and now I'll be able to jump on and read blogs whenever I want. No more bowing to my ambitious, innovative and computer-hogging man. :-)

How do you handle computer time in your family? Ever find yourself trying to hog the internet?

Music and Characters

Many writers listen to music while writing. Although I never have, some songs do remind me of my stories and characters. This one, in particular, always made me think of one of my heroines.
Do you have a certain song that characterizes your WIP? Which artists do you find the most inspiring?



My dear friend Anita has a wonderful, heartwarming story up at Pix 'N Pens. If you have time, a comment on her story counts as a vote to be entered to win a box of books. (sorry, had the details wrong when I first posted)

What NOT to say to Your Agent...

even if it's hilarious.

Confrontational Dialogue

I'll admit, this is my favorite kind to write. It's in-your-face, don't-mess-with-me dialogue. It's what most of us are afraid to say in real life.

In a scene, this kind of dialogue can be refreshing and exciting. I also think this kind of dialogue often forces truths and hidden conflicts to the surface of the scene.

Stein gives an awesome example of this type of dialogue. On page 111 he shares an excerpt from a NYPD Blue scene. A cop just saw a killer let loose on a technicality. The cop makes a stink and the judge says, "We govern by law, not your whim."

Then the cop gets confrontational. He replies, "Don't tell me how you govern. I work your streets. I clean up after how you govern. The way you govern stinks."

I just found an interesting post about adversarial dialogue over at Novel Dog.

How are you with confrontations? Do you like to write them?

Stuck

Have you checked out my word meter?

NO???

Well, don't feel bad. It hasn't moved because I'm stuck. There are various reasons for this pause in my writing and as I mentally sludge my way through this WIP torture, I read. Mostly historical romances.

When you're stuck, what do you do? What's your favorite form of procrastination?

Puppy Love

Now that my oldest is five, I've been letting him watch a bunch of Disney movies, especially the older ones. The other day I was thinking about my favorite movies as a kid, and why I liked them.

I realized that the movies I loved all had something in common.

The hero.

Yes, my twistedness started young. Some of my favorite heroes were Charlie the ex-con dog (All Dogs Go To Heaven), Butch the street-smart dog (Lady and the Tramp) and Robin the saving-the-poor and antagonizing-the-rich fox (Robin Hood).

These characters are wild and flirtatious. Charmers.

What do your favorite childhood cartoon heroes say about you? Have your tastes matured? (unlike mine? Heehee.)

Thanksgiving Break

I wanted to do another post on dialogue, but family is in town and I have a feeling I'll be absent from the blogosphere.

That said, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday week and weekend, and I'll see you Monday! Or sooner, if my blog addiction can't be contained. LOL

Oblique Dialogue

Writing dialogue can be a lot of fun but it can also be tricky. Dialogue is not the same as conversation. It is not question/answer format.

Dialogue should lead to questions. It should entice the reader to turn the page. It should move the plot forward.

I've never heard dialogue called oblique before chapter eleven in Stein on Writing. According to Stein, this type of dialogue is indirect.

His example of oblique dialogue:

SHE: Hi, how are you?
HE: Oh, I didn't see you.

The man doesn't answer the question. He circles around it and says something else. That's oblique.

Have you ever heard of oblique dialogue? Or maybe you've heard it called indirect? For an exercise, here's some dialogue. Can you turn it into something oblique?

HE: Heard you had a party last night.
SHE: Yep.

Gone Garage Saling

Today (for some reason I originally wrote tomorrow, lol) my mom and I are making the rounds!

Anyone else trying to save some money on presents? Am I completely cheap to do this?

Controversial Changes

There are some changes in publishing.

First, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson is partnering with Author Solutions in a new venture called WestBow Press. This will be Thomas Nelson's self-publishing arm. You can read some details at Writer Beware!.

Now I've just found out that Harlequin is a part of a new press called Harlequin Horizons. There's some talk about whether it's a Vanity or Self-publisher. Lots of talk, actually. Check out Dear Author for a short post about this, and then in the comments a Harlequin representative answered some questions.

As a capitalist, I think these publishers are innovative and smart to do this. As a writer, I'm concerned. These are new territories and it'll be interesting to see where publishing heads.

What do you think about these traditional publishers using traditional names for their self-publishing ventures? How about agents receiving referral fees? Do you think these changes will really affect those of us who are aiming for…

Awards Banquet

Image
Thank you to Steph, who inspired this banquet! :-)
There are so many of you who deserve an award. I could never name all of you, but I appreciate every single person who comments on this blog. I tried to match up the awards with blogs that I think embody the feel behind that award. Also, I didn't follow the rules for any of them. Sorry about that! And if you've already gotten the one I gave you, I'm sorry, and if you don't post it or play with it, that's totally fine with me.
So here they are!


Kathryn
Deb
Tabitha
Danyelle








Donna
Keli
Susan
Elana








Terri Tiffany
Tamika
Jeanette
Karen







Penny
Angie







Janna
Jody
MaryBeth







Dara
Sarah
Kristen








Wendy
Genny










Anita
Eileen








Katie
Sandie
Sherrinda


Have you received any awards? Which one is your favorite? Which one do you wish someone would give you? Do you even care?

Awards, Awards

Image
I have more thank yous! And then, on Tuesday, I'm going to have an awards banquet (the idea was inspired by Steph In the City, so thanks!)In the meantime, I know I haven't played the rules for all of these, but that's because I forget what they are. I'm looking forward to passing these on verrrry soon. *grin*



Thank you, Julie! Julie's blog has been spotlighting her Nano experience. Interesting stuff for someone like me, who's never Nanoed.




Thank you, Stephanie! She has a new blog and always posts interesting, conversation-starting topics.




Thank you, Jennifer! Her blog always has a weird news report and it usually makes me laugh.




Thank you, Dara! Dara posts about some really cool Japanese myths, names and facts.




Thank you, Jeanette! Your friendship really has "hit the spot." :-)








Thank You Mary at Writer's Butt Doesn't Apply to Me (and boy, don't I wish that were true for me, LOL)




Thank you to Tara at the BloodCrossed Writer! I haven't explored…

Melodramatic Mother

Mom, this one's for you. *wink*

The other day we were on the phone and my mom was describing some of her ailments to me. She's normally a healthy person, but she does suffer from allergies and sinus issues. She's also a vivid person and this comes across in her language.
In this case, she told me her pain was skewering up through her nose.

Skewering.

She never finished the description because I laughed. What a perfect word! Strong, to the point, I had an exact (if somewhat gross) image of what was happening.

Do you have a vivid person in your life? Someone who thinks in ways you forget to? And in your WIP, are you using the strongest verb possible to convey EXACTLY what you mean?

Author Laurie Alice Eakes on having the Right Agent, Part 2

Thank you so much, Laurie Alice, for sharing your story. You can find her at her website or her blog, Seize the Chance.

Continued from Part One:

Then tragedy struck. My best friend found out she had four months to live. She told me to go back to writing, to pursue that dream and not let that lousy agent stop me. My friend believed in me. Several other life-changing events occurred, too, and I found myself with a renewed relationship with the Lord, glad my secular stuff had gone nowhere, joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and, by a pure miracle of the Lord, got an agent who believed in me.

I had done my research on her. She was new, so no former clients, but also that meant she was hungry. No, she didn’t have great contacts in the industry, but she was outgoing and warm and had a desire to succeed. She was also a writer, so knew people in the business. She was also working with an experienced agent. Frankly, I felt that I had nothing to lose at this point.

Ten years after th…

Author Laurie Alice Eakes on having the Right Agent, Part 1

Thank you to Laurie Alice for sharing her agent journey with us.

Laurie Alice Eakes is the award-winning author of historical romantic fiction in both the sweet-secular and inspirational markets. After a slow start, her career took off this year with the sale of eleven books in nine months.
She lives in Texas with her husband and sundry animals.

Worse Than No Agent At All

A bad agent is worse than no agent. For me, I learned this aphorism the hard way. I was so thrilled to get an agent I said yes to her representation without getting all the scoop on her. In truth, she’d come recommended by someone I respected. Things looked good for the first three months.

This post is about what can happen if you jump at the first agent who offers to represent you, or if you submit to one without doing your research on her first, research such as finding clients who have left, as well as those who have stayed, what she represents, to whom she has sold, etc. And, because I am an unashamed believer in the …

Book Spotlights

Image
I loved the main character of this book. Ray Quinn is a cross between House and Ollie Chandler. I was intrigued immediately. The writing was spectacular. Author Mark Mynheir outdid himself and I was hugely impressed, not to mention hooked. A great read, imo.






I've loved all of Lessman's books but this one topped them for me. While pushing the boundaries of sensuality for the CBA market, I also think it pushed the spirituality of today's Christian. The book overflowed with Godly principles and bible verses without ever becoming preachy. I loved it.






This was a great ABA thriller. I couldn't put it down and even though I guess the killer, it wasn't until the very end. If you like suspense, I highly recommend this one. Interestingly enough, Castillo wrote category for years and I believe this might be her "break-out" novel.






Jones is a new author for me. I sat by her at dinner one night at the conference. She was super nice, I'd heard great things about her b…

Family in Town

I might be absent from your blogs for a few days. Just depends on how much my adorable little nephews lure me away from the computer.
:-)

Can't wait to get back in the blogosphere. And so far I have one author willing to guest post about the writer/agent relationship! Woot!

This just in! Apparently Travis Erwin is doing a series of posts about how agents have enriched writer's lives. It looks great. Check it out if you have time.

Your Turn

While there are plenty of things to watch out in our Great Agent Search, I don't want to leave everyone on a wary note.

The thing is, a compatible, solid relationship with your agent can be the best choice you ever make for your career. Whether the relationship remains professional or turns into friendship, it can be wonderful.

We know the things to look out for, but I'd love to hear about any great experiences you've had with agents. If you have a great relationship with your agent and are interested in doing a guest post about it, e-mail me at jessica_nelson7590 AT yahoo Dot com. Or you can share in the comments section.

Here's a link to an encouraging and helpful post on picking an agent.

I'm looking forward to reading some awesome comments/posts!

Know Thy Self: Guest Post

A real-life vent from a dear friend of mine on the perils of "jumping into bed" with an agent. Thank you for sharing your story, Anonymous Guest. :-)

First, I’d like to thank my gracious blog host, Jessica, for letting me post this. It’s been therapeutic to vent in a “public” venue.

As for jumping into bed with an agent, I’m someone who’s in that bed right now, trying to decide whether to "suck it up” or toss the covers aside and find another mate.

It’s so easy to say: I’m going to research every agent inside and out, read their every blog entry and online interview, talk to their other clients, and ask all the right questions to turn down any agent who answers even one of them wrong. That still doesn’t mean the marriage will be perfect. Even more than knowing your agent (which is virtually impossible until you start working with them anyway), is know your own career path. That’s the only way to assure the partnership will be successful.

I’d been trying to get an agent …

Strange Bedfellows

Sometimes we hop into bed with an agent before thinking things through. Passion kicks in and oops, we're in "bed" with a stranger.

Just because an agent is reputable and nice doesn't mean they'll be the right fit. If you don't ask the right questions you might jump in with someone who:

Hogs the covers.

Takes up all the room on the mattress.

Huddles on the edge of mattress and you can barely reach him.

Snores in the middle of pillowtalk.

Have you thought about what to ask an agent before accepting an offer of representation? What things are you willing to overlook and what qualities are important to you?

Pacing

I knew someone whose manuscript was rejected because of uneven pacing. It was the first time I'd heard of such a thing, and boy did it scare me.

Thinking about pacing, for me, is like thinking about calculus or trying to get home from the Orlando airport. I get lost. Easily. Frequently.

But I've managed to glean a few tidbits about pacing from different places (and since it's been a while I don't know who to thank--sorry!).

1. Pacing should slow when there's tension. I take that to mean we want the moment to stretch out wire-taut.

2. Pacing can be linked to conflict issues. So if your middle is sagging, your pacing might be off.

3. Pacing is the rhythm of the novel. Check out this excellent article by bestselling author Vicki Hinze.

What have you heard about pacing? How's the pacing in your manuscript? Your life? *grin*
Any good advice to share?

Writer's Angst and some Thank Yous

Image
Thank You Jeanette!


Thank You Steph in the City!






Here's a cute video I found over at Miss Snark's First Victim. It's an advertisement for Authoress's Book Agent Demystified, but I still thought it was really funny and kind of true. At least for the beginning of most of our writing journeys.



Have a great weekend!

You Reap What You Sow

I strongly believe in sowing and reaping. Some people might believe in karma, some in 'what goes around, comes around.'

The basic principle here is that everything has consequences.

I just loved a recent episode of House because it was about sowing and reaping. Balance, even. The dad sacrificed everything to save his son, and being the wonderful show it is, the son lived. Not only that, but the minor characters have made some choices that are now beginning to bear fruit (and add conflict).

Consequences.

Are you making sure your characters are suffering from their bad choices? Being rewarded for their good ones? It's the little choices at the beginning of the story that should affect the rest of the book. I think these seemingly inconsequential choices should weave together and create the plot.

What do you think about sowing and reaping? Is your MC making good choices or bad ones, and how does that affect your character's moral arc?

Oh Toliet Brush, How I Do Love Thee

As I was cleaning my bathrooms yesterday, it struck me how thankul I am that I no longer have to use my hands to clean the toilet bowl. I remembered how as a kid I hated sticking my fingers into that cold, nasty water.

But now I have my trusty toilet brush. Swish, swish and I'm done. No mess, little effort.

Thanks to computers, writing is easier too. No more whiteout in the typewriter, just a beautiful delete button. Then there's control F. And most recently I discovered page breaks. I'm sure there's lots of other cool tools.

What's your favorite word processing tool? House-cleaning tool? What do you wish would be invented?

Conference Goodies!

On my last post Deb mentioned wanting to hear about the good stuff from the conference. So here we go:

1) Amazing networking. I met many of my blogger friends, plus new bloggers.

2) I met my wonderful and generous crit partner. Also roomed with her, which was awesome.

3) Books, books, and more books. They gave away a whole bunch too!

4) Seeing editors and agents and realizing many of them are my age. Kind of a funky feeling there, but good.

5) Delicious desserts

6) Tree Climbing

7) Being surrounded by other writers is one of the biggest supports I've ever felt. It's incredible.

So that's the good stuff from the conference. There's so much more I could write about, but others have covered it better than me. The links below are for fellow bloggers who did more detail on various aspects of the conference.

Katie's Post

Jody's Post

Krista's Post

Eileen's Post

Jeannie's Post

Any links you all want to add?

Conference Bloopers

I tried hard to keep my foot on the ground, but gravity didn't cooperate and my size ten got stuck in my mouth a few times.

The worse faux pas was when I saw an author whose name I recognized and since she was standing right next to me, I told her how much I liked her book. And then I paused, horror filling me as I realized that I couldn't remember which book of hers I'd read. And then I tried to fill up that awkward silence by saying I knew I'd read a book of hers, but I couldn't remember which...uh, yeah. Not quite the right thing to say. That was my worst thing, I think, especially because I didn't know whether I'd maybe hurt her feelings. The last thing I'd want to do was make an author feel like her book wasn't memorable.

The second blooper was less serious. I'd just met some fellow bloggers and we were talking and I threw out the word heroine in our conversation. The blogger (wasn't it you, Katie?) looked at me funny and it dawned on me …

An Announcement and apology

From Kat at Tender Graces and Angie at Gumbo Writer:

You are cordially invited to attend an "open house" beginning Wednesday, October 14, in honor of the newly renovated Rose &Thorn Journal: http://www.roseandthornjournal.com

Drop by, sign up for the newsletter, check out the new digs (and blog!), follow us on Twitter and Facebook, leave us your comments/thoughts, and wish us well!

Rose &Thorn is a quarterly literary journal featuring the voices of emerging and established authors, poets and artists.

Now...go enjoy the open bar and appetizer spread!

Angie Ledbetter &Kathryn Magendie
Co-Editor/Publishers
Rose & Thorn Journal



As for an apology, I'm going to be really busy today so I might miss some of your blog posts. Just wanted to apologize and let you all know that I'm still following you and will be back in blogaholic mode by Friday. I hope you're able to check out the Rose & Thorn!

Consistent Characterization

Sometimes when I read a series of books where they are all tied into the same family or place, I notice that a main character from a previous book doesn't seem as real when put in a secondary role.
It's always disappointing to me that someone I loved becomes such a shadow, as though a secondary character can't be as strong as the current main character.

It's not consistent.

I just finished Julie Lessman's A Passion Denied. This is the third book in her Daughters of Boston series and the heroine is the third sister in the family. There's a scene where all three sisters from the book are together in the kitchen and it made me laugh several times.

Lessman did something I don't usually see. She managed to keep each character strong and original without taking the focus off the main sister of that particular book. Talk about consistency!

Faith was still more serious and prayerful. Charity, hot-headed and sensual. And the heroine a little of both.

Have you written a s…

The Dead Don't Always Die

I wrote the following when I first started this blog. Totally forgot about it too, but since I'm feeling exhausted and my brain is on post-freeze, I thought I'd repost it. Wish I had the link because it was really an amazing story.

Yesterday I logged onto Yahoo and got the shock of a lifetime. Okay, not really, but it was a surprise. A man who'd been pronounced brain dead by doctors suddenly, on the day of the plug-pulling, moved. Yes, he moved, then woke up, and forty-eight hours later went home. How incredible is that? How awesome! So I was in a really good mood and decided that maybe I don't want Dear Hubby to pull the plug on me if I'm ever brain dead. 'Cause obviously the doctors were wrong.
And then my mind started thinking about books, which is a common ailment of mine. The thinking about books thingy, that is.
There was a time historicals were considered dead. And now everyone's saying, NO More Chick-Lit! And guess what? Historicals are back in a big w…

A Bitter Root

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many


Grace is a beautiful thing. We all need it.

Bitterness is ugly. Most of us have it.

When I think about bitterness, I think of a vine growing around our hearts and choking us. I'm not trying to preach to anyone today, but I did think it's worth noting how easy it is to become bitter in a business like publishing.

This is a subjective business, one that doesn't necessarily conform to rules. We want rules. We come up with formulas and plotting strategies and one-sheets. We revise and edit, revise and edit, shooting for perfection.

And then we face rejection.

It's the subjectivity that's the toughest, because in this business, you can't measure success by publishing. Getting a contract means a lot of people like your book. Rejection doesn't mean people DON'T like your book.

The business of publishing isn't a formula. There are things we can do to d…

Sin + Virtue = Bestseller

I took this class at ACFW. Agent Natasha Kern was the speaker and she kept me hooked.

Basically, she taught us that what makes a novel great is this simple formula. I wondered what her class would be like HERE. Now I know.

Our main character must have a great desire, one main thing that comes from their strongest virtue. This virtue must drive the main character. Conflict comes through the form of the character's biggest weakness, or sin. The character must be tempted away from their goals (something heroic deriving from their virtue) by their very own sins/lusts/flaws.

She used the example of Scarlett O'Hara, who loves her home Tara and wants to protect it at any cost. She does horrible things but the reader forgives her because we understand her driving need is heroic. Even her love for Rhett is a conflict, because it clashes with her virtuous passion to save her beloved Tara.

Another example was Julie Lessman's character Faith, in A Passion Most Pure. Faith desires to be G…

New Word and True Heroism

Here's a link to One Very Brave Heroic boy who I think is completely awesome!

Here's a link to the new word on the block (and it cracks me up). Shug.

If you were going to combine two words to make a new one, what would they be? Do you think you could do what that boy did? Why or why not?

Jessica Nelson, Super Spy

I'm guilty.

Guilty of reading my sisters' diaries. Guilty of listening to strangers' conversations. Guilting of putting my ear to a wall and trying to hear what's happening in the next room.

My heart galloped in my chest when, in my high school years, I discovered I could listen in on my mom's phone conversations via the radio. Yep. Turned it to the right channel with the antenna pointed just so, and I could hear every word.

But my curiosity always battled my conscience. Now, instead of eavesdropping on others, I write characters who do it.

Have you ever eavesdropped? Heard something you shouldn't have? Did you regret it or enjoy it?

Male POV

At the conference I was able to attend part of a class called Male POV, hosted by Randy Ingermanson. (The author who developed the snowflake method)

The class was awesome and I wish I could share my notes with all of you. The biggest lesson I learned from this class was about the male ego.

Yes, apparently this is one of the most important factors in a man's thought processes.

He's sensitive and his ego is tied to his self-respect.

I can think of a whole bunch of different ways to start incorporating this into my manuscripts. How about you? What do you think of a man's ego? His need for self-respect? Do you think it's different than a woman?

Grumpy Professionals at the Conference

If there's one thing that hammered home some reality for me at the conference, it was hearing horror stories about agents or editors. And what reality smacked me upside the head, you ask?

They're human.

Yep. Fallible, exhausted, excitable, annoyed, happy humans.

At a conference it can be easy to get caught up in the rush of meeting someone who can make one of our dreams come true that sometimes editors and agents tend to take on celebrity status.

I was shocked when I heard the first story of rudeness, but then I took notice of my surroundings and slowly, slowly drifted back to Earth.

Pitch appointments were all day long for these professionals. About five sit in a big room at different tables and in fifteen minute increments they listen to us pitch, they read our work and they (hopefully) give their opinion. One agent whose class I attended could barely speak in the evening, her voice was so hoarse.

Lesson learned? They're at the conference for work, not play (well, not too much…

Who Tagged Me? plus Thanks and a Video

Image
OKAY, SOMEONE TAGGED ME TO ANSWER TEN THINGS (OR SOMETHING) AND I CAN'T FIND THE POST OR REMEMBER WHO DID IT!! I'm super sorry, but could you remind me who you are? *cringing and feeling bad, but still wanting to play*

Also, Thank you to Character Therapist Jeannie for the Lemonade Stand Award!
The Lemonade Award is a feel good award that shows gratitude or a great attitude


Also, thank you to author Nancy Parra who gave me the Superior Scribbler Award.


Thanks also to Tabitha for giving me the Panda award! Very cute. :-)

Everyone who's given me an award, you've made me feel very special. :) I haven't given out any but I hope to in a separate post soon!



Stand By Me: I love this song and thought the video was pretty cool.

Sore Feet, Happy Heart

Image
The biggest, most wonderful part of the conference was meeting all my writing friends. My feet still hurt from walking in heels and my heart is still happy from bonding with these lovely women.
It was cool to see who these ladies are, and hear their voices, outside the cyber world.



Left to Right:
Eileen, Jeannie, Jaime, Me, Katie, Jody








Done anything lately that was somewhat painful but you didn't care because you were so happy? Ever met other writers? Or someone who had a similar passion to yours? How'd it go?

Monkey Business During a Conference

Image
What happens when Krista (and her poor, unsuspecting husband...)and I get together for dinner?









You can see more pics from our dinner on Krista's post.

Would you climb a tree while dressed business casual? When was the last time you laughed like a child?

I'm at the Conference

I'm not sure when I'll be able to post but if I'm able to, this might get updated with pics. :-)

Hope you're having an awesome week/weekend.

This Made Me Weep

Thank you Wendy for sharing this.





I know what this video means to me, but what does it mean to you?

Guest Blogger Candi Wall on Promotion!

I'd like to introduce one of the first writer's I ever "met" back in my RWC critiquing days, Candi Wall. She's a very talented writer who writes super hunky heroes. Not only that, but she's a genuinely kind person whom I'm honored to have on here.



Hi, Jessica!

Thanks for having me.

In true ‘Booking It’ form, I’m going to try to keep this thought provoking…

Hello, my name is Candi Wall, and I’m an aspiring author.
I’ve been aspiring 365 days a year for 16 years and every day is a battle.
Being an aspiring author has made me do things I never thought I’d do but I find I can’t give it up. >grin<

My novel STAY is entered in the Next Best Celler Contest at TextNovel.com
(Which means I write my novel in increments of approx. 500 words at a time, post them in mini chapters and hope to get enough votes to keep myself in the top twenty. The top twenty are then whittled down to ten, and out of the ten, Dorchester Editors will pick a winner who will receive a publis…

Writing Conference Preparation

I didn't get my teeth as white as I wanted, but I've been working on other things.

Here's what every writer needs to have in their arsenal when heading to a conference (if they've completed a manscript):

Fiction Proposal: Harder sounding than it actually is. The toughest part for me is the comparable books section

One-Sheet: Kind of fun to make, actually. Here's some examples.

Pitch: Blech. You know how I feel about this.

Flash Drive: Just in case anything weird happens, like my beautiful papers get soaked, or an editor wants to read the full, ASAP. (lol)

Folder: Buying one at Wal-Mart on Sunday, to hold all my stuff in.

Business Cards: Not sure who will keep them but from what I gather, they're a good idea.


Maybe you've gone to a conference, maybe you haven't, but have you needed any of the above? Created any? What's the hardest part for you?

On Monday the fourteenth, I have a guest posting about a new, very cool writing opportunity!

The Crucible

I've been reading Stein on Writing for the last two years. It's an excellent book and I picked it up yesterday to read a chapter. The chapter I'd read last caught my attention though, and I reread it.

Says Stein "A Crucible is an environment, emotional or physical, that bonds two people. It can be a scene or a series of scenes, but more often the crucible is an entire book. The crucible is a relationship, often one influenced by locale."

He cites some examples, including Lolita, because the hero is in love with a young woman, really, a child. The Count of Monte Cristo is a story that immediately came to my mind. First, the hero is in a prison in the sea from which no one ever returns. Then he escapes and his crucible becomes his desire for revenge, which keeps him from the only woman he has ever loved.

Have you ever heard this term before? Is there a crucible in your manuscript? Can you think of any books or movies with a definite and strong crucible?

*I'M ADDIN…

Every Book is Different

I've been inhaling the backlist of a favorite author and to my surprise, I realized some of her books were just okay.

Not awesome, like I'd expected.

It's a relief to know that every book doesn't have to be bestselling wonderful in order to get published.

Are some of your manuscripts better than the others? Does your favorite author have books that seem to vary in awesomeness?

Where I'm At

First, I hope all of you have a wonderful, relaxing Labor Day!

For this post, I just thought I'd share a run-down of where I'm at in my writing.

I have a proposal for an older manuscript with an agent, but she's had it a long time so I'm not sure if the interest is there. Hoping though, and still very excited that it's under consideration. :-)

I'm almost done editing this WIP and then I'm going to give it to a few people to read over. This is also the WIP I'm planning to pitch at the conference in two weeks.

Not only that, but I just got some contest results back on this WIP.

*cringe*

I'm smarting still, but mostly at my own stupidity. I forgot to change my synopsis to reflect the changes in my WIP. Therefore, my motivations didn't line up and both the judges caught discrepancies between what the plot was supposed to be and what the chapters were showing. There were also some other excellent suggestions, but overall my scores were low so that wasn&#…

We All Got to Learn to Do It Sometime

*grossness alert*


We all have to learn to deal with doo-doo eventually.

Consider me a newbie mom, but it never occurred to me that my son should be wiping himself until about a month before kindergarten. And then the flashbulb went on and I scrambled to teach him.

One problem.

He didn't want to. He's fastidious and doesn't like to make mistakes, so the thought of taking care of this daily chore literally reduced him to screaming and crying on the toilet.

Basically, he didn't trust himself. He was afraid. Scared to get his hands dirty. Afraid he'd miss something.

This is probably weird, but it made me think of us as writers. There comes a point where we have to "grow up" and trust ourselves.

We can't always rely on a crit group, agent, or editor to wipe up our mess.

I think this should be a part of maturation for every writer, that we can look at our work and be confident in our ability to clean it up. Not saying we'll make it perfect or that we won'…

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Oh Vanity of vanities....

In preparation for the conference I'm going to put my body through some painful things. Eyebrow pluckings, teeth whitening and mustache removal.

Anyone else interested in adding to my confession of vanity?

Have you ever gone through a painful experience in order to look good? What's the craziest thing you've ever done to yourself?

Freaking Out, Just a Little Bit

You all may know that I and several other bloggers are going to the ACFW conference in three weeks.

In preparation, I've been working on my pitch.

There's a little problem though.

I can write it fine, but when it comes to talking....my tongue messes up. When I'm nervous, I talk too fast, I talk too quiet, I use the wrong words or I *gasp* stutter over my syllables. Or worse, come off sounding as nervous as I am, maybe even arrogant. *cringe*

Have you ever verbally pitched someone? Does trying your pitch out on friends/family help? My hair feels like it may turn gray (I know the day is coming, blech). Any advice for this pitching newbie?

While I've been writing...

Image
My hubby's been fishing!


No One's Perfect

We all have flaws, but our characters especially should have some, because what fun is there in reading about someone's perfect life? *grin*

Since our MC's have a defining virtue, should they also have a defining weakness? What if their weakness is what causes some of the main conflict in the story? What if the weakness is in direct opposition to the MC's virtue? The characters must have something to struggle against, a temptation or a sin, as well as an outer conflict.

What's your MC's biggest weakness? How does it define him or her? Does it propell the story? Do your characters ever fight the same kind of vices you do?




After reading the Seekerville post on Moral Premise, I signed up for Natasha Kern's ACFW conference class, Vice and Virtue. Wondering what she'll talk about is turning the wheels in my head and give me some blog fodder.

Winner and a Little Sniffle

Okay, the winner of Ted Dekker's book Saint is Eileen! Congrats, girl!

Keli Gwyn is the writer who just finaled in another contest, so congrats to her! But many of you picked Eileen or Jody because they finaled in the Genesis recently. Woohoo! Lots of finalists here. :-) I can't wait to see what happens in your lives.

On a different note, today is my eldest's first day of kindergarten. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The years just slipped by and now he's school age and I'm so excited and sad it's not even funny.

Well, I guess you can laugh. Most of you have gone through this, right? LOL

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Thank You for Awards, and a Contest!

Image
Thank you T. Anne for the Humane Award!


And thank you Jill and Elana for the Kreativ Blogger Award!


Now, I'm supposed to list seven things about myself so here they are:
1. Eat chocolate every day
2. Have three different men I consider my dad
3. Married two days after high school
4. Can walk and read, can drive and read *wink*
5. Always have a book I'm reading
6. My tongue doesn't work when I'm nervous
7. I don't have any special talents (not saying I'm not special y'all. I mean there's no specific, physical thing I'm really good at. :-) Although I used to be able to play the piano by ear a little bit.)

Okay, now for a mini contest!!!

One of the bloggers on my followers list just finaled in a contest! Woohoo! If you can guess who she is, I'll enter you in a drawing to win a gently used copy of Ted Dekker's book Saint. You can guess up to three bloggers.

*****HINT***** This follower is on the very first page of followers, or is it the last? You just kee…

G'Me Some of That Sweet Fruit!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, self-control."

After thinking about moral premise for a bit, I decided that it has much less to do with the theme of a story, and more to do with the characters. Now I haven't taken the class or read any books on this, just Kern's post, so this is my own interpretation.

Part of moral premise is the virtue that absolutely defines your characters. Now, in reality many people are a little blurry when it comes to their own morality. Not to say we don't feel strongly about certain, and often different, morals but what I'm saying is that few of us are guided by one specific trait.

I think our characters should be though, and this is one of the things that will drive the story.

In my opinion, a main character should have a defining virtue. Does she thirst for justice in everything? Is he gentle to all? The list above is a great tool to pick out a single virtue to absolutely define and drive your …

A Solid Heroine

I recently rewatched the movie Red Eye and was struck by how much I liked the heroine (Rachel McAdams). In fact, she came to mind during my pastor's sermon on meekness.

He said meekness is strength and courage under control, coupled with kindness.

That's exactly how the heroine is in this movie. She's not brassy or opinionated in a loud way. She's not someone who would catch another's eye. She's understated, quiet, gentle.

And really, really awesome. Only we don't know just how strong and courageous she is until she's forced to act.

Do you like heroines like that? Or do you like the bold, saucy ones (and I like those too)? Who's your favorite character and/or actress? Why?

He Said, Said He

After a fellow blogger kindly critiqued a few chapters for me, I realized there was another thing for me to learn.

Dialogue tag subject order.

In other words, after the quotes, do I put John said, or is it said John? I googled it and couldn't find anything to help, picked up books on my shelf but had the hardest time finding dialogue tags in the novels I looked at. Despite my lack of findings, I agree with Eileen that the subject sounds better coming first.

But is there an industry rule about the order? What have you been taught about this?

The Moral Premise

I heard about this on the Seekerville blog. Agent Natasha Kern posted on this fascinating subject.

Honestly, I hadn't considered the moral premise of my stories. Theme, yes. Values, yes. But not the moral premise.

This post is worth reading, though a little long. Also, The Moral Premise blog looks like an interesting place.

How do you treat morality in your stories? Is the moral fiber of your MC the driving force behind the character's decisions, and thus their story? Do you think theme and moral premise are the same? (Susan did an interesting post on this, though I couldn't find it in her archives. Maybe she can tell us.)

Play or "Die"

I've been tagged by Penny Lane! If I don't play I've been threatened with "Death", *wink* so here goes...

1. Do you have a "secret" author, genre, book, or magazine you read but rarely fess up to?(give an example) Okay, I'll admit it. I love Linda Howard's books, most of them at least. They're graphic and have language, but I love the deep emotional pull of her romances, and the cool suspense.

2. What genre of movies is your favorite? What about movies you wouldn't normally fess up to liking? I like romantic comedies. Normally, I wouldn't confess to liking Napoleon Dynamite...but I do! LOL

3. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be and why do you like it? I think we all know the answer to this! Heehee

4. If you could change something about your personality, what would it be? When confronted with an emotionally charged atmosphere I tend to freeze up and not know how to react. I guess I wish I'd get a backbone.

5. Wh…