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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Making A Difference

Tonight I see the funeral of former President Ford being broadcast on television, and it reminds me of this devotional sent out last week by Bill Keller at

It speaks to all of us who will never be president of this country, or any country. And it speaks to us on what we *can* do to make a difference--writers included.

Very few people in their life will have the opportunity to become
the President of the United States or the leader of a nation.
However, EVERY PERSON has the ability to make a difference in this
world no matter what you have been called to do. I don't care if
you are 15 or 115, rich or poor, male or female, what color your
skin is, YOU can make an impact on this world with your life and be
a leader.

God gives each of us passions, things that we develop a love for
throughout our life. God gives each of us gifts, special abilities
that come naturally to us. Throughout our life God opens and closes
doors. It is through these passions we have, through the gifts we
have received and developed, and through the opportunities that life
presents us, that each person can make an impact on this world
during the course of their life.

You see, God needs His children in every area of life. He calls His
children to be teachers, doctors, scientists, astronauts, pilots,
police officers, fire fighters, secretaries, bank tellers, garbage
collectors, janitors, nurses, homemaker, car dealers, mechanics,
farmers, politicians, entertainers, lawyers, writers, stock brokers,
and any other profession you can name. Throughout the course of a
person's life, God may call someone to do many different things.
The point is, whatever career or profession you are in, you can make
a difference. The key is to do your very best each day and realize
that your life matters.

Those who know Christ as their Savior have been called to lead.
The most common way we lead is by example, how we live our lives
each day before this lost world we are part of for this brief time.

Of course, no matter how much we may accomplish in our life, our
greatest legacy will be those lives we touch for Christ along our
journey. You see my friend, no matter what your passions may be,
what your gifts may be, what career or occupation you have, we all
have the same purpose in this life. That is to serve and glorify God
with our lives. All that we do in this life comes back to our God-
given purpose which is to serve and glorify Him. The money we
accumulate, the property we own, all of the things of this world
will one day pass away, but those lives we impact for Christ will
last for eternity!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


When the star in the sky is gone,
When the Kings and Princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost
To heal the broken
To feed the hungry
To release the prisoner
To teach the nations
To bring Christ to all
To make music in the heart.

--Howard Thurman

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Grace

What a nice surprise to find that Christmas Grace has been released not only in e-book format but also in paperback!

Monday, December 18, 2006

He's in the Noise

Thanks to Sally Chambers for this inspiring poem!

For busy writers—something light.
Have you written something bright?
Something given from above,
Something of God's heavenly love?

Meditating on the meaning
Sitting, musing, hoping, gleaning
Thinking of the holy birth
What it means to all the earth
God the Father fills my mind
Inspiring me to tell mankind
God sent his Son to save us all
If we will only heed his call
He's in the noise and in the toys
He's in the feasts and in the joys
He is everywhere we look
In every cranny, every nook
Omnipresent, gracious Lord
Capture hearts in one accord.

Jesus said: "For I have given to them the words which You have given
Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came
forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me" (John 17:8

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Another Round of Have you ever. . .

From authorLaura Hamby.

Have You Ever...

Along the same lines of that 150 item post a while back, here's another one... one that I thunk up all by meself. And no, not everything on the list is stuff I've done.

1. Used real snow to make/eat a snow cone
2. Slept in you car while parked at the side of the road
3. Didn't go to bed until 4 in the morning on New Year's Day
4. Dyed an Easter egg, using all the colors available
5. Catch a scent on the air that reminded you of something from your childhood
6. Taken a picture of the sky because it was a remarkable shade of blue that day
7. Caught a fish and cleaned it yourself, then cooked it for dinner
8. Wished you bought two pairs of your favorite shoes
9. Made a list like this
10. Taken art lessons
11. Taken ballet lessons
12. Driven a really scary stretch of road
13. Read a book from cover to cover in one sitting
14. Written a letter to your Congressman
15. Changed political parties
16. Made a boat yourself, and sailed in it
17. Worn mismatched shoes by accident
18. Been so happy you wanted to burst into song
19. Watched Barney, as an adult, without becoming annoyed
20. Thought you could walk to Sesame Street
21. Invented something
22. Came up with a new recipe
23. Snorkeled or dived a coral reef
24. Been in a shark cage
25. Been told that a character in a Nora Roberts book reminded a friend of you
26. Howled in the car with your kids
27. Loved someone so much your heart hurt
28. Painted a house
29. Painted a picture in the style of a famous painter
30. Seen the Mona Lisa
31. Seen the Hope Diamond
32. Been the president of the PTA
33. Sat on Santa's an adult
34. Lost your spouse
35. Driven a race car
36. Eaten fried okra
37. Climbed Mt. Everest
38. Seen Mt. Rushmore
39. Saved a baby bird that had fallen from its nest
40. Tried a food you always thought was gross and discovered you loved it
41. Been to Hawaii
42. Been to Africa
42. Had an "old-time" picture taken with your family, your friends or alone
43. Made good friends via the Internet
44. Met a movie star
45. Seen the Queen of England in person
46. Indulged in a tinsel fight while decorating the Christmas tree
47. Attended a family reunion
48. Couldn't turn out the lights for the night after reading a Stephen King novel
49. Gone on a cruise
50. Can you remember where you where the day the Challenger exploded?

Feel free to copy this list and post to your own blog, "bolding" the items that apply to you!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Carols

As many of you know, my husband runs karaoke for small parties and gatherings, usually company functions or events where there is no smoking allowed. Well, tonight he had a job at a very small private Christmas party and I went along to help out.

I was so touched that the crowd wanted to sing traditional Christmas carols and some of the more trendy ones-- but they shunned all the pop music for the Christmas music. And they all sang together (although not always "together," if you get my drift.) And it was beautiful. Not politically correct or fashionably "cool," but beautiful and with respect to the season. And the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas, carolers everywhere.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Carnival Time

I didn't realize the second edition of Christian Writer's Carnival was up--you can check it out here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Writers, Condescending. . . .

Thanks to Brenda Coulter over at
No Rules. Just Write. for bringing up a not-so-sticky-sweet subject--

Friday, December 08, 2006
When writers attack

Today's post about writing and rejection by novelist Jack Cavanaugh at the The Charis Connection is both thought-provoking and chuckle-inducing. But there was one small part that disturbed me. I'm getting really, really tired of reading things like this all over the blogisphere:

I refuse to write whipped cream stories. There are too many all sugar, no substance stories on the shelves already.

I don't know Mr. Cavanaugh. And I'm not going off on him personally, because these are just two little sentences and I have the impression that he tossed them off at least partly in jest. But please. Could we writers stop trying to plump up our own egos and promote our own writing by tearing down the work of others? Who benefits when we sniff and insist that we, unlike so many other writers, are determined to write quality fiction?
Do we honestly believe that some writers wake up in the morning and say to themselves, "I need money. I believe I'll write some garbage today. Good thing my editor is lazy and my publishing house wouldn't know quality if it bit their backsides--and the public can be fooled into buying just about anything. I won't even have to break a sweat. I'll just crank something out and mail it to New York next week."

Read the rest

Monday, December 04, 2006

Are you Interesting?

Wow, I'm more interesting than I thought! LOL

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree-------for photo purposes only :o)
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (and survived the crush afterwards)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Thanks to "Mom Nancy" for this list. Copy and paste it to your own blog, hi-liting the things you've done!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Working Around a Problem

Terry Whalin has a great post today over at The Writing Life. It just goes to show how writers can make more of a difference in the world by getting a bit "creative" when needs arise.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Interview with Laura Hamby

Laura Hamby, author of "Christmas Grace," has engaged in some Q&A with us today.

1) When did you start writing and why?

I've been writing forever. I've always had stories in my head, trying to escape. I started writing in my teen years, after I read my first historical romance. I wrote off and on for years. About 5 years ago, I decided to go for it-- I wrote an historical romance, found a community of writers to commune with, made friends, continued writing, and submitted *Sukie's Dance* to By Grace for their first Brides and Bouquets anthology. That was published in 2005.

2) What is your favorite place to write? Do you have any rituals?

I write at my computer. I like easy access to the internet in the event I need to do a dab of research, and I enjoy writing with company. I like to play music when I write, and have been known to listen to one CD over and over until a novel is finished.

3) What inspired you to write C.G.?

Oh, boy... I think Sheila mentioned needing Christmas novels/novellas, and I can't resist when she puts a bug in my ear. I should try to resist a bit harder, though. GGG. Inspired is truly the best way to describe C.G.-- I started with a premise and a setting, and as I wrote, it all unfolded before me. It could only end one way, and when I tried to resist the way the novella was heading, instant writer's block, so I wrote it the way my heart told me.

4) What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Don't be afraid to reach for your dream. Learn all you can about the craft, be open and teachable. Don't be afraid to stretch yourself. And grow a thick skin.

***Thank you, Laura! Readers can learn more about Laura at
her site.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas Grace

My fellow author Laura Hamby shares a highlight from her story in our upcoming anthology!

"Christmas Grace"

Former Southern Belle, Hannah Kelsey, now orphaned by the War Between the States, awaits patiently for news of her lone, surviving brother. A life that has been anything but easy is made more complicated by the Yankee soldier she finds lying in front of her cabin a few days before the Christmas of 1864.

The holiday season is a time for miracles as Hannah must hide wounded Union Captain Jeff Steffend, and protect her lonely heart from the kindness of the stranger. This war-weary couple need a bit of Christmas Grace to nudge them into each other's arms.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Christmas Presents!!

Congratulations to Teresa Warner of Toledo, Ohio, who won the Fall Beanie Drawing!!!

Thanks to all who entered!!

I would like to announce my new contest!!!!!

Instead of sending me an email message to enter the Christmas Beanie Drawing, I would like you to join the reader's group of my new publisher,By Grace Publishing. We will be talking about books all through December, especially the new Christmas anthology "Christmas Grace." This is a duet of stories, including mine called "The Scent of Falling Snow" and one by fellow author Laura Hamby.

I will be giving away 4 Ty Beanie Babies during the month of December, and Laura will be giving away her own prizes as well. Please join us in the fun here! It's free!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving. Here are a few nice words from Paperback Writer, who today shares
Ten Things to Help With the Holidays--read the rest at her site.

1. Butterball Help: If those of you in the U.S. need any advice on thawing, dressing or cooking your holiday turkey, call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line at 1-800-BUTTERBALL by phone, or e-mail (e-mail response may take 24 to 48 hours.)

2. Grace or Thanks: Here's a short and simple prayer to say before your holiday meal: Bless us, O Lord, for these, Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Help us to be mindful of all our blessings, and the needs of those who have less. Amen. If you don't say grace at meals, you can ask everyone at the table to name something for which they're thankful, and why.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How Do I Know?

Thought this piece (excerpt) from really spoke to

by Bill Keller

This Devotional today is a deep one. One of the most frequent
people always ask, is how do I know what the will of God is for my
Much of the difficulty in determining what God's will is for our
life is
trying to separate our wants and desires from God's wants and
desires. This
is probably one of the most difficult issues you will ever deal with
in your
walk with the Lord and I just want to give you some basics to help
you in
not trying to conform God to your will, but for you to conform to
His will.

The only way you can begin to understand what God's will is for your
life is
to be in a daily, intimate, surrendered relationship with Him. It is
critical that you are spending time with the Lord every day through
Word, through prayer, and that quiet time where it is just you and
the Lord
in fellowship. That is the only way we can learn to hear His voice
so that
over time we are able to discern whether it is God speaking or simply
ourselves. I can't begin to emphasize enough how important it is to
take the
time each day to get alone with God and have that time of
fellowship. You
only begin to know God's will for your life when you really know God.

The key is you have to be at a place in your life where you are fully
surrendered to the Lord. You need to be able to say, "Lord, wherever
want me to go, whatever you want me to do, I am completely yours."
biggest hurdle to overcome in following God's will for our life is
the fear
of the unknown. What is my life going to be like if I follow God?
How will
my life be different if I really let God have His way? Trust me, He
you, cares about you, and only wants the best for you. God wants to
you and those blessings are found as we faithfully and obediently

The more we listen to God's voice, the more we obey and follow His
the less time we spend trying to force God to follow what we want to
do, and
the more time we spend trying to follow what God wants us to do. As
we grow
and mature in our relationship with the Lord, we find ourselves more
concerned with what God is asking us to do and we slowly begin to
make His
desires our desires. My friend, THAT is the time when you find that
place almost impossible to put into words. That place where your
have become God's desires. It is clearly no longer your will that
you seek
but it is His will.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Writing? Who has time for writing?

Today's post on Newbie's Guide to Publishing is so on the money---of course, the "other job" for me is extremely time-consuming, but it does pay the bills!

Being a writer these days is the career equivalent of ADD.

Years ago, in the days of typewriters (note to newbies: a typewriter was a device like a computer, but without a monitor, memory, or Minesweeper) writers could sit down at their desk and just write. Then, when they finished writing, they could write their next book.

These days, not so much. Temptations and other work-related activities abound for the writer. There are dozens of opportunities to slack-off without even getting out of your chair.

Writing blogs
Checking for replies on blogs
Checking for replies to your replies on blogs
Computer games
Checking email
Surfing the net
Message boards
Checking Amazon
And then there are the other requirements of the job:

Conventions, conferences, and festivals
Library and school talks
Stock signings
And, of course:

Other job

Read the rest here.

I get tired just reading the lists! Oh well, now I have to go actually write.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Veteran's Day

I was so busy raking leaves yesterday I forgot to post for Veteran's Day.

I would like to thank every man and woman who have served our country--we need you so much. Thank you for your sacrifices.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

For Teen Writers

Here is some practical advice for aspiring teen writers, fromWhatever

10 Things Teenage Writers Should Know About Writing

Dear Teenage Writers:

Hi there. I was once a teenage writer like you (see goofy picture to the right), although that was so long ago that between now and then, I could have been a teenager all over again. Nevertheless, recently I've been thinking about offering some thoughts and advice on being a teenage writer, based on my own experiences of being one, and on my experiences of being a teenage writer who kept being a writer when he grew up. So here are some of those thoughts, for your consideration.

I'm going to talk to you about writing as straight as I can; there's a possibility that some of what I say to you might come off as abrupt and condescending. I apologize in advance for that, but you should know that I sometimes come off as abrupt and condescending toward everyone, i.e., it's not just you. Also, I hope you don't mind if I don't go out of my way to use current slang and such; there's very little more pathetic than a 36-year-old man dropping slang to prove he's hip to the kids. I own a minivan and the complete works of Journey; honestly, from the point of view of being cool, I might as well be dead. You might find what I have to say useful anyway. Here we go.

1. The Bad News: Right Now, Your Writing Sucks.

It's nothing personal. When I was a teenager, my writing sucked, too. If you don't believe me, check these out: A short story I wrote in high school, and (God help us all) the lyrics to a prog-rock concept album I wrote in my first year of college. Yeah, they suck pretty bad. But at the time, I thought they were pretty good. More to the point, at the time they were also the best I could do. No doubt you are also pounding out stories and songs to the best of your ability... and chances are pretty good that your best, objectively speaking, isn't all that good.

There are reasons for this.

a) You're really young. Being young is good for many things, like being flexible, staying up for days with no ill effects, not having saggy bits, and having hair. For writing deathless, original prose, not so much. Most teenagers lack the experiential vocabulary and grammar for writing well; you lack a certain amount of perspective and wisdom, which is gained through time. In short: You haven't yet developed your true writing voice.

Now, if you're really good, you can fake perspective and wisdom, and with it a voice, which is almost as good as having the real thing. But usually, sooner or later, it'll catch up to you and your lack of experience will show in your writing. This will particularly be the case when you have a compelling, emotional story, which would require the sort of control and delivery of your writing that you only get through time. You may simply not have the wherewithal to express your very important story well. Yes, having a great story you're not equipped to tell pretty much bites. Normally, this is when teens look for help from the writers they admire, which brings us to the next reason your writing sucks. . . .

Read the rest at "Whatever's"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Caroling for Christmas. . . with Robin Lee Hatcher

I love to stock up on Christmas stories and begin reading them each November, and I've just read the first one for 2006. This is a book I would have picked up for either the author or the cover-- Robin Lee Hatcher is an "auto-buy" for me, and the cover is so warm and inviting I can't imagine passing it by! I wasn't disappointed in the story--as usual Robin tells a tale that involves your emotions and leaves you feeling good. "A Carol for Christmas" is her 50th published novel!

I first met Robin at a writer's retreat in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia a few years ago. At the time I hadn't made the change to inspirational fiction, but I enjoyed meeting her and was impressed that she treated all the writers, both new and established, with kindness and respect. I worked with her when I was the secretary for the Faith, Hope and Love chapter of RWA, and now follow her blog daily. After reading the other blogger's entries and finishing "Carol," I asked Robin the following:

Did you personally have musical aspirations?

I love music and have the heart of a great singer, but alas, not the voice. While I don't make people cover their ears and shudder when I open my mouth, I consider my singing to be closer to a joyful noise. I know my limitations. I took piano lessons as a girl and still pick out a few melodies, although it would take real practice for me to be any good at it. I also played the flute for a few years but that was long, long ago.

What do you listen to while writing?

While writing, I usually listen to movie soundtracks (no lyrics, just music). But I have an enormous collection of CDs and, since the advent of iTunes, a lot of singles as well. My musical taste is very eclectic. I listen to Bach and Mozart, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, Don Moen and the Newsboys, Elvis Presley and Barry Manilow. Music inspires me.

For more interview questions with Robin, check out these blogs:

Tricia Goyer
Girls Write Out
Author Intrusion

Some ending words from Robin:

In the final analysis, it isn't about me or my gifts. It's about Jesus. All that matters to me is, did I give it all up for Him? Did I live abundantly and with abandon in the beauty of His grace? When I reach the end of my life, I hope to be able to say, Yes, I did.

Visit her website and blog for an early Christmas treat.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Silent Fellowship

We are told in the Bible to pray continually, but I really liked the way L.B. Cowman addressed this in her devotional book, "Streams in the Desert." As I sit at my desk and type these words, I am the little child she describes--

It is not necessary to be continually speaking to God, or always hearing from God, in order to have a communion or fellowship with Him, for there is an unspeakable fellowship that is sweeter than words. A little child can sit all day long beside his mother, totally engrossed in his playing, while his mother is consumed by her work, and although both are busy and few words are spoken by either, they are in perfect fellowship. The child knows his mother is there, and she knows that his is all right.

In the same way, a believer and his Savior can continue many hours in the silent fellowship of love. And although the believer may be busy with the ordinary things of life, he can be mindful that every detail of life is touched by the character of God's presence, and can have the awareness of His approval and blessing.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Agents and Publishing and Scams, Oh My. . .

I have found some interesting blogs and websites which address the scams pulled on writers--especially newbie writers who haven't heard the details yet. There are also sites on which anonymous agents provide tips and "don'ts."

Visit and bookmark some of these sites:

Writer Beware Blog

The Rejecter

Miss Snark, Literary Agent

Knight Agency Blog

Agents to Avoid

Agent Query

Absolute Write Forums

Right Writing

Evil Editor

Agent X

Book Ends

Preditors & Editors

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I need that opening line. . . .

Thanks to Paperback Writer for this amusing list of famous first lines--and what the author could possibly have been thinking. This seemed timely as I start a new story and contemplate a good opening line. . . .

Behind the Lines
Ten Writers' Opening Lines, and What They Were Thinking When They Wrote Them

1. "Call me Ishmael."

Yeah, good name. Not like Herman, you know. Herman. Oy. What am I, a Munster? What kind of mother names her kid that, anyway? I swear, that woman hated me from the minute I was born. I'm never going to write about women. Men only. Big, manly men. Big, manly men who piss off whales, and who aren't named Herman.

2. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so."

How do I start this book off then? Go with the positive claptrap, or the negative claptrap? Oh, ballocks, I'll write both. A big long useless paragraph of both. Let them think it was the dichotomy of my literary genius instead of this bloody damn bipolar disorder.

3. "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

I'm writing this sitting in the kitchen sink. Cool.

4. "Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick."

Decent quote opener. Not as much fun as the thinly-veiled anecdote about the colonel, the misplaced hot dog and how I almost got court martialed for laughing my ass off in a trauma room, but not like this is ever going to get published.

5. "Over the weekend the vultures got into the presidential palace by pecking through the screens on the balcony windows and the flapping of their wings stirred up the stagnant time inside, and at dawn on Monday the city awoke out of its lethargy of centuries with the warm, soft breeze of a great man dead and rotting grandeur."

Hello, my name is Gabriel, and I have period phobia, so I make my English translator, Sancho, use mostly commas to keep my beautiful prose from being interrupted by that sort of crude punctuation and allow me to drift into endless descriptions of my beautiful vultures which remind me of the prostitutes I ogled as a boy in Cadiz . . . or was it Madrid . . . [margin note: Sancho! My God! Not ellipses! They spawn!]

6. "Shortly before being shot in the back with a tranquilizer dart and dumped half-dazed on a stretcher, right before being stolen from the hospital by silent men in white coats, Elena Baxter stood at the end of a dying child's bed, her hand on a small bare foot, and attempted to perform a miracle."

Baby, you just got backstory-opening-line whomped.

7. " then the guy sits up on the stretcher, says 'I don't feel so good,' and turns this incredible shade of blue."

Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has just turned on the fasten your seatbelts sign. So buckle up. Right now.

8. "The day broke gray and dull."

Take that, you dark and stormy night writers.

9. "The last camel collapsed at noon."

What will remind my editor that he hasn't sent me my advance check for this novel yet? Last straw . . . camel . . . got it.

10. "The story that follows is one I never intended to commit to paper."

I got a big book deal and you didn't, neener neener neener.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Verse for Writers


October 18, 2006

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the
-- Psalm 27:14

If there is anything we don't like to do, it's wait. Maybe that
is why God is so interested in us learning to do it! There is
something purifying about remaining strong in tough times and
remaining faithful when ill winds blow. So God gives us times of
waiting to see if our search is really for him or merely for
something new or easy.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Inscription no-nos

Not to be taken seriously, I found these this morning at Paperback Writer.

Inscription No-Nos
Ten Things You Probably Shouldn't Inscribe in Your Novel

(dedicated to Miss Kate)

1. Being a bestselling author and the next great voice in American Literature does not make me your free therapist. Next time, tell your silly sob story about working two jobs just so you can afford to buy my books to the other low-income losers like you standing in line. Coldly, Ona Highhorse

2. Thanks for loving me, babe. Stop by Howard Johnson's tonight after the booksigning -- room 678. Bring some wine, silk stockings and condoms, and be ready to tie and spank. Lustfully, Dick Everhard

3. If you were really my devoted fan, you'd be buying more than one copy of this. So where's the love? Huh? Huh? Hotly, Dee Manding

4. My editor made me change like every other word in this book, and I can't stand the bitch, so if you don't enjoy it, would you write to my publisher and complain about the editing? Maybe they'll fire her this time. Gratefully, Don Touchmaprose

5. Nice free ARC, cheapskate. Stick a crowbar in your wallet next time and pay to buy a real book, and maybe then I'll sign it. And if I catch it on eBay? I'm going to sue your pants off. (Unsigned)

6. Please note that this is the first thing I've published since I caught my pond-scum ex cheating on me with my best friend. What a joke. That judge practically ordered him to be publicly stripped and flogged. He thought he could destroy my career as thoroughly as he did our marriage, but as you can see, I won. The house, the car, the tiumeshare in Epcott and the joint checking. And my best friend? You must read my review of her latest novel, hahahahahaha. Oooooh, and remember to pick up my next book, The Diseased Cowboy and the Runaway Bride Who Shoots Him in the Crotch, which got FIVE STARS at Not that I gave them to myself. The initials J.D. are just a coincidence. Sincerely, Jess Divorced

7. Sorry I sneezed on this, but I did wipe the boogers off. Have you had a flu shot? Yours Truly, Rosie Nose

8. Spending $7.99 on this does not entitle you to have personal contact with me. Anywhere. Comprende? Stiffly, Hannah-Sandy Tizer

9. To the most boring person of indeterminate IQ whom I have ever encountered: I admire you for setting your sights so high, but I don't think you should attempt anything else of mine until you can read without moving your lips. Unaffectionately, Ima Snobb

10. You'll like this so much better than the last awful, clunky, ridiculous piece of trash which that drooling fat idiot cow who has the audacity to call herself a professional writer, Bertha Bigbucks, just published. And did you know she stole that plot from me? Righteously Yours, Vera Green

Monday, October 09, 2006

Build it, and they will come

Here are a few more thoughts excerpted from Julia Cameron's book, "The Sound of Paper."

"Build it, and they will come" (from the movie) is profound creative advice. It puts the emphasis on process rather than product. It emphasizes the fact that artists lead rather than follow the market. Too often, artists get sidetracked trying to market their work before it is finished. They write book proposals instead of books, screen treatments instead of screenplays. Meanwhile, precious weeks, months and years tick by.

Often, when I advise a writer to write a whole book rather than a proposal, I am greeted with, "But, Julia! I don't want to do all that work for nothing." Be we *never* do all that work for nothing. When we write, we become better writers. When we paint, we become better painters.

When we look for a guarantee of success, we are asking to make risk-free art, and art, by definition, is risky.

Art is a time-consuming process, and in our youth-oriented culture of instant gratification, this is not a popular thing to say.

It is the practice of our art form, and not the marketable product we produce, that warrants us the name artist.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Sound of Paper--a few notes

I was cleaning my writing files and came across these notes, taken while reading "The Sound of Paper" a year or so ago, byJulia Cameron. I highly recommend this book--and hope you can get a little something from the concepts I jotted down.

--Drama is seductive(and saps your writing time.)
--We can not know where our journey will lead.
--Pray to overcome unbelief.
--Writing can be do-able, portable and casual (don't make it such a big deal)
--We don't know the number of our days --live consciously.
--Ask God to work through me like a channel
--Thy will be done, not mine.
--Artists thrive on structure.
--When we commit to a dream, the materials come.
--It is the "making of art," -not- "our art making it" that signifies an artist's life.
--Don't pour out all your creativity in email. Manage modern life and media input like a diet.

I think I want to re-read Julia's book : )

Friday, September 29, 2006

We're All Writers. . . . .

Interesting post fromBrenda Coulter on writers who find shame in being "unpublished."

Prepublished? Don't make me laugh

Yesterday I heard a writer call herself "prepublished." I've heard the word before, but it appears to be picking up steam, because lately I've been hearing it everywhere. Published writers are using the word (it seems to me) because they want to appear humble, generous, and encouraging. And unpublished writers are using it about themselves to demonstrate their determination to succeed (at selling their work): they're not your run-of-the-mill unpublished bumblers. They are serious about their writing. They're prepublished.

Give me a break. Do marriage-minded college girls call themselves prewives? Do Olympic athletes call themselves premedalists? Do Hollywood hopefuls call themselves prestars?

Here's the thing: If you write, you are a writer. Some writers are published, some aren't yet published, and some will never be published. Merely knowing that a writer is unpublished does not tell us she lacks talent or has a subpar work ethic. And the fact that a writer is published merely suggests--it does not assure--that she is both talented and serious about her writing.

read more

Monday, September 25, 2006

Teaching With Trouble

This is a post from my old blog, 9/07/06.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.---Psalm 46:1

"Why didn't God help me sooner?" This is a question that is often asked, but
it is not His will to act on *your* schedule. He desires to change you through
the trouble and cause you to learn a lesson from it. He has promised, "I will be
with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him" (Psalm 91:15) He will be
with you in trouble all day, but not until you have stopped being restless and
worried over it and have become calm and quiet. Then He will say, "It is

God uses trouble to teach His children precious lessons. Difficulties are
intended to educate us, and when their good work is done, a glorious reward will
become ours through them.

----LB Cowman, Streams in the Desert

So many times, Ms. Cowman's daily reading has jumped off the page at me and
throttled me by the lapels. What trials have you suffered in your writing
career, only to find rewards after you go through them?

Beanie Drawing

The new fall Ty Beanie Baby Drawing is now going on at my main site. Stop by and enter!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Welcome to my New Blog

I couldn't salvage the previous one, so I've started another and decided to keep it really simple. So when (or if) the code becomes corrupted for a third time, I won't lose anything but my archives.

Thanks for stopping by!