Sunday, December 27, 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?

Friday, December 25, 2009

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


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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. Listen to your agent’s response. Sometimes expectations are not clear. Make sure they are.

Finding an agent is fun and interesting, frustrating and hard. But hang in there. It’s better to have no agent than a bad agent, or one who is wrong for you.
If you have an agent, be professional, pray for him or her, keep communication lines open.


Thank you so much Rachel! I really appreciate your advice.

Have any of you ever thought about praying for your agent? Do you find the agent search fun or grueling?

Monday, December 21, 2009

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 herself, but also to soothe the monsters within him.


My favorite kissing scene is in an older episode of House, when Cameron finally kisses House. He's so reluctant, and then it's like he just can't resist her...

What kind of kissing scenes do you like? What's your favorite one of all time

Friday, December 18, 2009

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” for you? That’s not to say you don’t take a chance with a new agent. I did. But there was an organization around her. Nicolas Sparks was his agent's first client. Seems that worked out well. But do your research. Does he or she know the industry? Have connections? Publishing or editorial experience?

4. Pray. Be humble. Be teachable. Write a great proposal. Study the craft of fiction. Make sure when you query and/or submit to an agent, you’re just this side of ready-to-be published.

5. Attend conferences where you can meet agents. For me, being able to have some kind of rapport beyond business was important. I wanted an agent I felt like I could talk to honestly, sharing the successes as well as disappointments and tears without feeling like I was losing professional credibility. There are those HARD days and an agent can balance your perspective. Yet, it’s important to keep professional boundaries. Your agent is not your best friend. And it’s not bad to only have a business relationship with your agent, only communicating when a contract or other business is involved. But know you feel comfortable with this person. Your heart’s desire will be in their hands.

6. Don’t be afraid of hard words, of being told to go back and rework your proposal. Listen to the agent’s advice — if they are offering. Don’t fire back that they don’t know what they are talking about. Be polite and thank them for their time. If they invite you to resubmit. Do it! But first, revamp that proposal!

7. Ask any potential agent their philosophy on marketing and branding. Authors are required to do more and more social networking to boost sales, I think this behooves agents to be more marketing and promotions savvy.

Which of these tips do you think will be easy for you? Which ones seem more challenging? Do you have a list of Top Picks? What draws you to those particular agents?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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 in my writing and to keep reading and studying.
I sold my first chick lit six months later. I sold another one a year later. In between I wrote two more Heartsongs. I was on a roll.
Yet, by mid 2007, I felt I was losing some momentum. I knew I needed help on how to increase my brand and visibility. Speaking? Writing articles? Joining forces with… someone?
I began to pray about what to do, willing for God to end my writing season, when I came across an agency that seemed to be keen on marketing and branding.
Maybe that’s what I needed? Could they help with ideas, partnerships, other avenues of promotion? I prayed. Tried not to decide based on worry or jealousy of authors finding more success than me. Tried not to “force” something to happen.
In the meantime, God opened a door for me to write with country artist Sara Evans. And I changed agents. Closed my eyes, breathed in faith and jumped.
It was an interesting season. But a short one.
Through a series of interesting and fun events, the Lord led me to my next (and final) agent, Chip MacGregor.
I never set out to have more than one agent. I never wanted to agent shop or get disgruntled and change for change sake. An agent/client relationship is a living, breathing thing that must be maintained and treated like all relationships: with good communication.

Me: How are you with communication? Do you prefer to write e-mails or talk on the phone? What kind of communication would you prefer to engage in with your future agent?

Monday, December 14, 2009

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?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

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 until the end.

8. How often do you get writer's block?

Several times during the course of my WIPs, but that's probably because I don't plot ahead of time.

9. Write fan fiction?

I never heard of it until entering the blog world.

10. Do you type or write by hand?

Type the story, write the ideas. You?

11. Do you save everything you write?

Pretty much.

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?

I get ideas out of nowhere but if I don't write them down I totally forget them. I guess I could get an idea but if I can tell it doesn't have enough conflict/depth to make a book, I reject it.

13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written?

I liked writing the scene where the hero tosses the stubborn heroine over his shoulder. It made me laugh. Yes, my own writing made me laugh. I don't even know if it will make others laugh, but it sure felt fun to write. :-)

14. What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?

Bad Boy's Redemption. Only two people read it but they both said they loved it, which was balm to my writer's ego.

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

I don't think I'll ever NOT write romance.

16. What's your favorite setting for your characters?

I don't know if I have a favorite place/state, though I do catch myself wanting to use moonlight alot.

17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Just my fiction WIP.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?

Yes.

19. What are your five favorite words?

Hmmmm, interesting question. I really love the word persnickety. Besides that, I've been using the word Woot alot, because it's fun. :-)

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?

I think Katrina in The Bridegroom's Revenge is most like me in her weaknesses.

21. Where do you get ideas for your characters?

I don't know. But I'm thankful for them. :-)

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Never. It's intriguing and a little strange to me when people are able to have a dream and then create a plot out of it.

23. Do you favor happy endings?

If there's no satisfying ending, I won't read it. Romance is usually a must. I love The Color Purple. Sad, real book, yet it had a satisfying ending, right?

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

OH YES.

25. Does music help you write?

Not at all.

26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.

Nothing is popping into my head, because I don't usually remember what I've written, plus it gets changed a million times. Ha! Let me go look something up...

Okay, first line to my WIP:

On a fine day in May when hyacinths bloomed red and the spring-fed Manatee River glittered beneath a warm Florida sun, Pastor Joseph O’Reilly lost both his heart and his land within hours of each other.

It's omniscient POV, which means I'll probably have to change it. Any suggestions?

Now I tag Janna, Penny, and Sandie.

What's your favorite question on here? What are some of your answers?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

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?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

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)

Friday, December 4, 2009

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?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

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?