Showing posts from 2011

Merry Christmas to All My Peeps

Merry Christmas Blogger Friends!! As we head into Christmas and the New Year, I hope you all are blessed and at peace. Maybe next year will bring new contracts, new agents, new friends. I know I have proposals at several publishers so 2012 should be interesting. Here's a song if you're in the mood. What things do you think might happen in 2012 for you? I'm outtie (for a few weeks). See you next year!

Interview with Debut Author Camille Eide (and winners!)

Camille Eide graciously answered some questions I had for her. If you hadn't heard, her debut novella just released and is available in Kindle format. 1. Me: So Camille, what's your favorite part about writing romance? Probably the moment the hero knows he's got it bad for the heroine. :-) I like writing emotionally wrenching scenes and tingly moments. To dig a little deeper, I like to read, watch AND write about how a person finds himself drawn to something far beyond outer attraction, something that speaks to a deep need in him, that thing she completes in him. :-) Oooh! Romantic! 2. Me: When did you start writing? I started writing with the intent of publishing nearly 5 yrs ago. The first novel took a while to polish, but eventually attracted my agent and made it to a pub house board (where it sits to this day...) My second in the series will be shopping for a publishing home soon. This Christmas novella is my first book to be published, but not my first. So eve

Christmas is for Kissing! (book giveaways)

Actually, mistletoe is for kissing, but I really do enjoy Christmas romances. You might've seen my posts on Facebook, but two of my critique partners have Christmas romance novellas that just released. These ladies are fabulous writers and I'm so excited for them! Introducing.... Polar Bear Plunge by Linda Glaz Striving to put meaning back into her life after her husband’s death, Aleni Callan immerses herself in hospital work. Angry with God, she finds herself even angrier, when hero, Brice Taylor, author of The Human Shield, arrives in the Emergency Room with a concussion and hypothermia after participating in the Polar Bear Plunge. Aleni wants nothing to do with a man who willingly takes chances with his life. Brice doesn’t understood how God could bring him through being a captive in Iraq, when he failed his troops so miserably. Writing about his escape brings fame he would rather avoid. And by meeting widow, Aleni Callan, his feelings of failure only increase. Megan

To Pick a Scabbing Wound

After my involvement in that accident, my grandma suggested I write out what happened as a healing exercise. I used to write in a diary all the time, but since getting married, that has fallen to the side. Even when I did it though, the words were subdued for fear that someone like me might walk into the room. To write about something that hurts to think about seems to me rather like picking at a scabbing wound. But I think for some writing out their hurts aides in the healing process. How do you release emotion? Do you think writing about a painful event is healthy or counterproductive? And do you journal? If so, what about?

When Thanksgiving Doesn't Feel Right

Last weekend I was involved in a horrific accident. I walked away physically unscathed. The other person did not. Right now a young man is in ICU in serious condition. I'm very thankful for my family, my friends, my health, but I can't help but wonder how this young man's family is feeling this Thanksgiving. If you would, please pray for my emotions and for this young man (Larry), that he'd fully recover. For those of you on a mountain peak, may your Thanksgiving be wonderful and merry and full of good food. And to those of you in the valley right now, I feel you and hope you'll see a sunny spot where you can rest awhile. Perhaps finding a blessing to hold close until your journey brings you back to the mountain top. Where are you right now? Have you ever been in a dark spot on a holiday? How did you end up leaving that place? Happy Thanksgiving!

Welcome Debut Author Lisa Jordan!

Lakeside Reunion : Bed-and-breakfast owner Lindsey Porter prays she won’t run into Stephen Chase when she returns to Shelby Lake. Five years ago, the cop jilted her to marry another woman, and Lindsey fled town. But no sooner does she hit city limits than Stephen pulls her over for a broken taillight. Despite the past, he’s still able to stir up Lindsey’s old feelings for him. Now a widower and single dad, Stephen recognizes a second chance when he sees one. And he’ll do anything to make Lindsey trust in God and take a risk for love—again. Read an excerpt of Lakeside Reunion Today I'd like to welcome debut Love Inspired author Lisa Jordan ! Below is a short interview with this lovely author. Why did you choose to be a writer? When I was 16, I read The Promise by Danielle Steele. The happily ever after ending made my heart sigh. At that moment, I knew I wanted to create the same heart-sighing promise of hope and happily ever after for my readers. Where is the worst place you&

And Now, Live on the Silver Screen....

It's just little ol' me and my book trailer. One of the great things about the changes happening in the publishing industry is the introduction of the book trailer. I definitely think it has great potential to drive sales...if used in the right way. I have seen incredibly boring trailers, long-winded and dry. I've seen okay ones. And then I've seen ones that made me click over to read the book blurb. Making a book trailer is hard work. Will anyone buy a book because of its trailer? Who knows? But I feel like a great, hooky trailer will generate interest in looking at the story. Which can lead to sales or at least some kind of buzz. Below is my trailer . I had a really fun time making it, even though I'm not sure I utilized everything the best way. You can also check out my good friend Anita's blog where she hosts a Trailer Thursday every week. Have you ever made a trailer? Thought about it? What do you look for in one, and do you think a great traile

The Path to Publication

I'm at work all day today but wanted to give Loretta Boyett a shout-out. She graciously invited me to guest post on her blog this week. If you're interested in hearing a more detailed account of the events leading up to The Call, you can read about it HERE . Hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Set the Hook and Reel that Fishie In!

Most of you know my husband is a fishing show host. The man loves fishing. I don't really go with him, but I hear enough lingo to know if you want to catch a fish, you have to set the hook. Setting the hook involves forceful action: You've got to yank the rod at the right moment. Too soon and the fish gets away. Too late and the fish swallows the hook. Books are kind of the same way. We start our chapters with a hooky first line, but do we end the chapter that way? On a conflict or a question that the reader must read on to discover more? I think the end of each chapter is a solid place for setting a hook. And while the first few pages are great bait for getting a nibble, it's the hook setting that will allow you to reel your fish in. How does your book end? Do you think the reader is reeled into your author boat? Which authors have reeled you in? And did it happen on the first nibble of their books?

I'm a Guest!!

I have a guest post up over at Seekerville , the IT place for all writers, pubbed and unpubbed. If you've never visited, I highly recommend making them a daily stop. In the meantime, if you have time, hit me up over there today. :-)

Chocolate for Dinner? Why That Sounds Sublime.

I'm being interviewed over at the lovely Jill Kemerer's today. Stop by if you have time. WINNER!!! Robyn Campbell , you are the winner of A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman . :-) I need your addy, please. Thanks Tori for the Versatile blogger award! I can't play the game now, but maybe soon. Thank you! I also have a thanks going out to Linda Rohrbrough , a fellow agency-mate who makes wonderful writer clocks. I met her at the conference and she kindly sent me one. What are your plans for today? Any special items on the menu?

You Say Potato

And I say Pah-tah-to. (heeheee, not really!) Better is niggling at me as I start a new WIP. What does it mean when I'm told to get better? Better at craft? Better at storytelling? Who determines what better is? I believe there is something intangible to a great story. A few posts back I wrote how I met with an editor and he encouraged me to keep getting better. Which I absolutely want to do. The thing about better is that...well...."One man's trash is another man's treasure." So what I think is better, someone else might think is no good. How do you decide or know if you're "better"? How do you gauge the worth of a book?

Ummmm.....I Heard You the First Time

As you all know, I just finished my line edits a few weeks ago. One thing that immediately jumped out at me was the same word scrawled on page after page. Rep As in, repetitive. Now, this is a manuscript I finished the rough draft of in 2007. This thing has been through the ringer. I've edited and revised it a million times. But I was still being repetitive. Thank goodness for editors! What a great reminder for me when I start my next story. I see repetitiveness in books already and sometimes it can be annoying. Repetition is not necessarily using the same words or repeating a sentence. For example, I read a book recently which was a good story with some sweet romance, but I felt like every chapter was reiterating the inner conflicts of the main characters. The reader doesn't need to be told over and over why the hero and heroine can't be together. I find myself doing this in my own writing. Using the character's internal narrative to remind the reader wha

From the Mouth of an Editor

Get Better . I'd had all my appointments on Friday so Saturday afternoon, I wandered into the appointment room at the ACFW conference thinking that it would be smart to see if there were any more openings. There was one, a mentoring appointment with longtime editor, Andy Meisenheimer . I decided to do it though my plan of what to talk with him about was pretty sketchy. Appointment time came. I popped into the room, shook his hand, sat down (maybe not in that order but I can't remember now) and then frankly told him I wasn't sure what to be mentored on but it seemed like a good idea. I asked him for whatever advice he thought a new author should have. The poor guy seemed startled at first but he recovered and gave me some of the best advice I've ever heard. Get Better . I highly recommend a mentoring appointment if you ever go to a conference. Meisenheimer was knowledgeable, encouraging and I just overall really enjoyed talking to him. I left the meeting with

A Heart Revealed By Julie Lessman

The ring on her hand belongs to one man … but her heart belongs to another. As a battered woman, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston ten years ago, seeking shelter for a heart badly bruised by both her husband and guilt. But when she falls in love with Sean O’Connor, a man who wrestles with demons of his own, fear and shame almost destroy her … until she is finally set free by a heart revealed. If you want love stories that curl your toes, then you'll adore Julie Lessman's books. I dove into this book because I'd really been waiting to read Emma's story. Scarred by an abusive husband, Emma deals with deep self-worth issues. But she's also a beautiful person who tries to let her weaknesses and fears bring her closer to God. If you're just looking for a straight romance, Julie's books are more than that. I saw her at the conference and told her I'd noticed how her books are moving into more of a saga-type read, rather than just a straightforwar

Deep Cover by Sandra Orchard

IDENTITY: GUARDED Maintaining his cover cost undercover cop Rick Gray the woman he loved. Sweet Ginny Bryson never really knew Rick. He never gave her the chance. Not then, and not now, when he's back with a new alias to gather evidence against Ginny's uncle. The man's crimes led to Rick's partner's death, and Rick wants justice to be served. But his investigation is stirring up trouble, and Ginny is smack-dab in the middle. Someone wants Ginny to pay the price for what her uncle has done. But how can Rick protect her without blowing his cover, jeopardizing his assignment...and risking both their lives? Deep Cover is the first book in the series, Undercover Cops: Fighting for justice puts their lives—and hearts—on the line . Book 2 ~ Shades of Truth ~ March 2012 A compassionate youth worker fighting to preserve her dying father’s legacy battles the justice-driven detective who threatens her mission and her heart. Book 3 ~ Dose of Deception ~ TBA (title

Cool News and Linkage

I had some news and links I wanted to share. First, one of my best friends ever just recently sold her book to Abram's imprint Amulet !!! Anita is a superb writer who first guest posted here in 2008 . You can read Anita's Call Story Here . Woohoo, Anita! I know there are many more sales in your future! Secondly, one of my amazing critique partners Karla Akins just had a non-fiction book released. She's done a wonderful job with this book. If you homeschool or are Canadian, you may be interested in checking it out Here . So, E-Readers are becoming more popular . ACFW is so close! I'm going, are you? line edits arrived. At first I felt intimidated but as I'm going through them, I'm really enjoying it and finding some great nuggets from the editor (thank you!). Do you use an e-reader? Are you going to ACFW?

The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund

They vowed to keep their marriage in name only. But when the unexpected happens on the grueling journey west . . . Their carefully constructed partnership will be put to the ultimate test. Priscilla White knows she’ll never be a wife or mother and feels God’s call to the mission field. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field. Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God’s leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts. After finishing Jody's debut The Preacher's Wife , I'

Waiting On Line Edits

Right now I'm waiting on line edits for my soon-to-be-pubbed (eeek!!!) book. I did a set of revisions before contract and a set after, but now the story is being sent to a different line editor. Even though authors from the same line gave me some encouragement about these edits, I'm still nervous. What will be changed? Will the editor like the story or hate it? Will the editor cross out all my "was"s? The suspense of not knowing what will happen is driving me to chocolate. Are you waiting for anything right now? How do you handle the suspense of the unknown? Are you prepared for the changes an editor might ask you to make?

Talking With Readers

One thing I've loved about my new job is talking books with one of my co-workers. She's a big reader who ranges from literary to all things Harlequin. The perspective of someone who reads but doesn't write is fresh for me. Now another co-worker started reading a book and was telling me how mad she was at a male character over how he treated the heroine. The depth of her immersion in the story was inspiring for me because last week she'd mentioned that the story was confusing at times due to an abundance of characters. Yet that didn't stop her from rooting for the heroine. How do I make a story like that? One that, despite its weaknesses, ensares a reader to the end? There are lots of rules on how to do it, but sometimes I think it comes down to voice. What was the last book you read that put you in tears or made you mad at a character? Any insight on how the writer did it? Do you talk books with nonwriters?

Use Your Words

Have you ever heard a parent tell their toddler to use their words? That's how I feel about writing. This Song captured me partly because of the lyrics. Lord, make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors Who would've thought forever could be severed by the sharp knife of a short life The writer uses words to make metaphors that create interesting images. She created a mood with her words, which is so important for us to do in our books. Do your words evoke the mood you're going for in a particular scene? What about your metaphors? Have you ever heard this song before?

The Next Big Thing

After Harry Potter we knew something else would be big, but what? Then suddenly Twilight appeared and for years captured the imagination of our world. Now Twilight is approaching the end of its movie run and I can't help but wonder what will be the next big thing. Do you think the next huge book will be YA? Is there room for anything else to get so big? Is there something big right now that I don't know about yet?

Please Pray

Right now I'm driving to Minnesota to see my Grandma. She's been very sick. I'll be offline for the next week, probably. Please pray for her and for safe travels for me. Thank you!

Confessions of a Peeved Reader

I have a confession to make. As a reader, there was one type of scene I always skimmed. Most romances, especially the historicals, would have this kind of scene and without fail, I'd skip it. I remember it being a pet peeve of mine. The scene always felt overdrawn, long, overly detailed with nothing exciting happening (lack of conflict)...The wedding scene. Yup. I know I'm probably in the minority but there's my confession: I hate reading wedding scenes. What's your confession?

Life in the Borderland

I've been traveling the world of Writerdom for many years now and I've traversed through different lands ( Query Land and Agent Land ), but I've never been on the border before. It's the strange and shadowy place between Unpublished and Published. There are befuddling sights in this region and new sounds. People from both sides mingle here and I'm seeing things from both the same and a new perspective. (Dichotomy, anyone?) What's your region like halfway into 2011? Are you enjoying it or counting the minutes until you escape? Have you ever felt like you belonged somewhere other than where you find yourself now?

Working on Revisions

After I got the call I was sent another revision letter. It was a mix of overarching notes on the story (things the editors want clarified or changed) and specific thoughts on different pages. The overarching notes were a little overwhelming at first. I had to sit and think about them. So I did the page edits first because I knew when I went in to fix other stuff it would change the page numbers. I'm almost done with my revisions and am pretty sure I'll have them in by deadline, which is so freaky (the fact that I have a deadline, eeek!) I can barely believe it. Is there a certain way you'd handle revisions? Do you use any kind of organizational tools like Excel? For a great, in-depth post on handling revisions on a contracted story, check out Jody Hedlund's post .

A New Agent in Town and Linkage

Last week I found out that my long-time critique partner Linda Glaz was just made an agent at Hartline Literary !!! Woohoo! So apparently for years I've been rubbing shoulders with an agent in the making. :-) Linda is a kind and funny person. She's very savvy regarding the industry and craft and she loves romance. If you're looking for an agent to query, I'd recommend Linda. She mostly loves any subgenre of romance and suspense, but she'll never turn down a great story regardless of genre. The guidelines for querying Linda are HERE . Congrats Linda! As for linkage, there some news on the digital royalties publishing front. Here are a few interesting links. Harlequin Raises E-book Royalties Agent Kristin Nelson's Take So Far Dear Author Asks Harlequin Some Other Publishers Royalty Rates Brenda Hiatt's Show Me The Money (this site is a good representation of what publishers pay on average) What do you think about digital royalties? Had you heard an

Getting Visual

A cool thing about Love Inspired is that authors are asked to give input into the covers of their books. The uncool thing is that I'm so NOT visual. Some writers have pictures of their scenes and characters taped to the walls. I don't. I have a vague idea, so when I was asked to supply pictures for cover ideas, I was befuddled. Thank goodness I have a friend who is the Queen of Visuality (you know who you are!). She supplied me with links to helpful websites where I could brainstorm who exactly my characters look like. Are you visual? Do you already have cover ideas? If you were a character, how would you be physically described?

My Call: The Journey

I sold to Love Inspired Historical !!! Here's how it happened: " You should write a book. You'd make more money doing that." In 2006 my editor at the newspaper I freelanced for told me this. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head. Write for money? Sure, I'd written stories all my life, but to actually write a book and be paid for it was a concept that had never occurred to me. That same year, I started a historical romance. Why historical? Because Love Inspired was launching a historical line in 2007 and I was aiming for that. I also love reading historical romances. "The characters should be talking by now." So said agent Steve Laube at my first writer's conference in 2007. He'd gotten to page 7 and my heroine was still thinking of backstory. I made every newbie mistake with that first manuscript. So I read articles and did my best to make the manuscript shine. Then I submitted it to agents. Form rejections. I decided to submi

Behind the Badge by Susan Sleeman (You can win stuff!)

I first met Susan a few years ago at a Tampa meeting. She was really friendly and nice. After going through some publishing glitches that might turn a writer's hair gray, she's now flourishing in the publishing world. Her new book Behind the Badge is out this month. I read the excerpt and plan to buy the story because it sounds great! I always love a sexy cop hero. Enter to win a copy of Susan Sleeman's Behind the Badge and a $50 Amazon gift card! Susan Sleeman here. Behind the Badge , my second romantic suspense book for Love Inspired Suspense will release on June 6th and in honor of all of you, the readers, I am hosting a special contest on my website for the month of June. Let’s face it. Without you, the wonderful readers, books would not exist and I wouldn’t be able to wake up looking forward to a job that is fresh and exciting each and every day. Praise God for this incredible opportunity! Now back to the contest. All you have to do is read the excerpt below then g

What I've Been Reading

I've read some great books in the last six months This is an intriguing novel by Ariana Franklin that blends history with science. I enjoyed the premise, coupled with solid writing and a cover I kept looking at over and over again. This book by Nancy Werlin is also an interesting mix of genres. Not only that, but she did some great things with POV, seamlessly moving from third person to first. . I really enjoyed this book by Camy Tang . Lots of twists and I wasn't sure who the villain was, which is always nice in a suspense. A sweet love story by Ruth Logan Herne that introduced a lifestyle I didn't know existed, or not much about it. (raising sheep) I absolutely loved this book by Cathy Gohlke . I've never read her before but I thought her writing was exquisite and she brought the era of the story to life for me, as well as the characters. What are you reading? Do you tend to span genres or stick with the tried and true?

Refining Your Voice

So last week I mentioned that critiques can smother or dull a voice. Well, the opposite is also true. Good critiques can smooth and refine voice. Just because a voice is strong doesn't mean it's the best it can be. Writing guidelines are tools, as are critiques. Use them to sharpen and shape your voice, to strengthen it and make it powerful. What is the best critique you've ever received in any area of your life? How did it change your writing or perspective?

Getting Comfortable in My Own Voice

Last week I talked about being deliberate with our writing. The words we choose, the length of our sentences, even the pacing of our scenes can all be traced back to voice. It's important to get comfortable in our voice, to know it, because if we write how other writers tell us to write and don't know our voice yet, we can lose it. It's important to learn from other writers, to gain knowledge and new writing skills, but in the end, we're responsible for using these things to strengthen our own voice, and not to carbon copy another's voice. Have you ever felt like you'd lost your voice, or are you still finding it? Are you comfortable in your voice?

Be Deliberate

The term Rules used in the below post really means guidelines but we're taught that they're rules, thus that's the word I use. In reference to breaking them, I mean departing from the standards we're taught :-) Rules are fun to break, but there's two things we must know before we break them. 1) What are the rules? 2) Why are we breaking them? As I've been reading contest entries, a commonality stood out to me. The overuse of exclamation points. I'd forgotten how much we writers love that bit of punctuation. And so when I was reading a very good book, I noticed immediately when the author used exclamation points in three consecutive sentences. I thought to myself: Now that's Voice. That author knows exactly what she's doing, and why. When we write, we must be deliberate. Every word, every character, every action, every scene must have a purpose to the story. It is up to us to discover what that purpose is. It is up to us to decide how to

Last Dance With Mary Jane

Anyone remember that song? I loved it in sixth grade, having absolutely no clue what it meant. In the writing world, there's a Mary Jane too, and she's not welcome in our stories. My RWR (the RWA magazine) came in the mail last month and one writer did an interesting article on writer terms. I hadn't heard the Mary Jane one in a while so thought I'd pass it on. A Mary Jane is basically when the main character is too perfect. Ever written a Mary Jane? Ever read one? Without pinpointing authors, can you name any characters that were so Mary Janish you gagged? I'm officially a ditz. The term I'm referring to is MARY SUE, not Mary Jane...Whoops!

RUE and Conflict

I've been in the midst of judging contests since November and I'm starting to see a pattern with entries, enabling me to see what I need to work on in my own writing. RUE Resist the Urge to Explain This manifests as telling most of the time. Good showing needs no explanation. A grin says more than "she was happy." RUE doesn't just occur in telling though. Sometimes the sneaky bugger pops into narrative (and there's a fine line, imo, between internal narrative and telling). For example, something will be said in dialogue or shown in action, and then we like to jump in and drop a few lines explaining what just happened. Just like in life, sometimes it's better to RUE. Another weakness I'm coming across is lack of conflict . I think many writers (including myself) make the mistake of thinking that bad things happening to our main character equals conflict. I've been pondering it though, and I'm beginning to realize that conflict cannot e

I Knew Them When

I'm busy in revision land, so I just wanted to throw out some encouraging shout-outs. I started reading the blogs of most of the bloggers below Pre-Agents/Pre-Publication, and now they all have contracts and/or books released. You never know when it'll happen to you! So here they are: Proof that writers CAN get pubbed. :-) Jody Hedlund I started reading her blog before she had an agent. Now she's on the bestseller list! Katie Ganshert I started reading her blog pre-Agent too, back when it was called Brain Throw-up (which I still think is genius! lol) Anita Howard Been reading her blog since before I had any commenters on my blog! Elana Johnson Yep, before she had an agent or a contract. Now look what she has coming out! Julie Jarnagin I met her after she'd received her contract but have to do a shout-out because her debut just released! Kristen Painter Was reading her pre-contract; now she has books coming out everywhere! I feel like I'm missing someone, so if it&#

It Takes Time

When I first started writing, I did a lot of research. One of the things I began to notice was how long it took for authors to get published. The average, if I remember right, was 3-5 years from the point of starting to the point of contract. The numbers boggled me. Could I write for that long? With no guarantee? Of course, I could. It helped to think of the first few years as college. Still, I was overwhelmed by the thought of how long it took so I decided to stop thinking about it and just write, query, etc. About a year ago, I suddenly realized I'd been writing for three years. Somehow the time had flown by. How? Well, the best thing about publishing is that while there's a wait, there's also always things changing. For example, after I finished my first manuscript it took time to write the query. Then time to figure out who to send it to. And then I started a new story as I waited for responses. Between all that was editing and critiquing and contests. Basically, I'

Rounding Second!

I'm heading toward third base! The journey to getting published feels like baseball to me right now. I cracked the ball and sent it soaring (sent out my queries). I reached first base. Then I got a request for a full. That's my second base. Some people go straight home from there, but I'm heading toward third. That's because I received a revision letter from an editor. *swoon* Remember I had a full out to a publisher? They've requested some revisions which I am only too happy to do! So right now I'm trying to get these done so the manuscript can go out for some reads. I've heard that some writers are discouraged by revision requests. Maybe they're overwhelmed (I was a little) and they step off the base and are out. DON'T step off the base. If you get a request, and it feels doable and you resonate with it, RUN like lightning for third base. This is pretty exciting for me. I could still get out but I know there'll be other chances for me to bat ag

Playing with Grandma Today

My grandma is in town so I won't be blogging this week. Do you have anything special going on? If you could wish for something special, what would it be?

Proof of Desire

One of my pastors said something on Sunday that resonated with me. Speaking of the Christian life, and following Jesus, he said: "The proof of desire is in the pursuit." Writers love to write. Some of us are content to hide our stories away and write for our own pleasure. Some of us want to be published though. Our desire can be reflected in our pursuit of publication. How can editor buy our book if he never reads it? How will an agent represent us if she never sees our query? What are you doing to pursue publication? How do you get your work out there? Is your fear of failure greater than your desire to be published?

Starting Your Story Right

First chapters are always fun for me. I love setting up the story and creating some juicy conflict. One thing I try to keep in mind is that I start the story right. There's a lot of advice to start the story with action, which is great, but I also think there's another important aspect to the first chapter and it has to do with character arc. The first chapter should start with your main character in their ordinary world. This is the world they've been in before the story started. The same problems, the same people, the same moral structure. Somewhere in chapter one, usually toward the end, something happens or some choice is made which propels the main character into a new world. A new job, a new challenge, or maybe new choices. This change that occurs should be something that challenges your hero or heroine's character. Thus, the character arc begins and chapter one ends with your main character in a struggle that will continue throughout the story and at the end of t

It Ain't Easy Following the Rules

Last post I talked about rules we readers would like to tell writers. Some rules we came up with: 1. Don't Bore Your Reader 2. Don't Annoy Your Reader 3. Don't Be Predictable 4. Misunderstandings don't make Good Conflict 5. Trust Your Reader 6. Make Your Reader Care 7. Be an Honest, Believable Writer 8. Keep Things Simple Unfortunately, while I can spot these things in books, somehow I miss them in my own stories. I'm always breaking rules and not realizing it! Thank goodness for my critique group. For my writing friends. For anonymous contest judges. Which "rules" have you broken? How do you keep yourself from doing it again? How do you feel about rules in general? (*grin* They're not my favorite thing, if you can tell)

Rule Number One: Don't Bore Your Reader

I picked up a book that I'd heard good reviews about. The cover was cute, the voice engaging. I was totally into the book for about fifty pages...until I figured out the plot. HEAs are my thing. That's why I read romance. But there are still ways to surprise me and hook me into the characters' lives. With this book, the author set up a plot that could've been really good with lots of tension and snappy writing but somehow I realized that the whole crux of the plot is a misunderstanding. I didn't buy that the husband was cheating because I didn't see the evidence (could be other craft problems or could just be me). There was a scene where the heroine is riding with her boss's son (who the husband doesn't know about) in a car and sees her husband drive past with his beautiful co-worker beside him. That's where I stopped reading. The heroine is worrying about her husband cheating but she just did the same thing he did! Why is she allowed to ride in the

What a Reader is Really Thinking

But first, another Huge Shout-Out to Katie Ganshert, who just landed a two book contract! You can read about her call HERE . Woohoo, I can't wait to read your books Katie! Also, please keep Baby Annabelle and her parents Krista (my tree-climbing buddy)and Scott in your prayers. They have some major medical decisions looming. On a side note, ever wonder what readers really think when they're ripped away from their current book? Check out the video below ( rated PG for name calling ) How do you react when you get interrupted?

Submission Update

A publisher has had my full for three months now. Knowing I could get a rejection, revision or a call any day is so nerve-wracking! What would happen with my life if I got published? How would it change? It's a new year. Many of you said you'd like to start querying this year. Have you began yet? How is it going? How would getting published change your life, and do you think you're ready?

Woot, Woot for Keli Gwyn!

If you don't know Keli , I'd be surprised. For the past few years she's been interviewing romance writers over at Romance Writers on the Journey . She even interviewed ME at one point. Keli is an encouraging, wonderful person. She sends gifts, creates First Sale Scrapbooks (I have one, it's waiting still for that sale, lol), and tries to support writers in different ways. I just found out that Keli has SOLD a book! You can read her call story HERE . She's been working toward this goal for a long time. How long have you been writing? Are you aware of the averages regarding the amount of manuscripts written and the number of years that pass before a sale is obtained? Do the stats challenge you or depress you? Congrats Keli!

Judging By the Cover

" some of us aren't the typical romance reader who has time to read one book after another while the husband is away at work, while we're waiting on the kids at soccer practice or while we're homeschooling our kids. " I read this comment on a blog the other day. It made me laugh a little but also caused me to think about how easy it is to generalize people. I tend to think romance writers have certain qualities in common, but what about romance readers? Do you think their commonalities are more internal than external? When you think of someone who reads romance, what do you see? Have you ever made an assumption about someone and then been proven completely wrong?

I'll Never Love Again

A soulmate or soul mate is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep and natural affinity, love, intimacy, sexuality, spirituality, and/or compatibility Love is a complicated thing. Do you believe that there's a perfect fit out there for everyone? How do you handle writing a story about a widow(er) or a divorced character who meets someone special? Which type of story do you prefer to read, the first-time-falling-in-love or the second-time-around-but-just-as-special romance?