Monday, July 31, 2006

Done some more

Just finished doing some fact checking on my ms. I needed to talk to a cop so contacted a friend who has self-published two books. He was really helpful in explaining the RCMP procedures for a couple of things that I wanted to make sure were accurate in the ms. Then I had a sudden "oh dear!" moment when I realized that I wasn't sure if they still used radio-phones in the Yukon. It's been a number of years since we lived there so I didn't want to assume. The erratic behaviour of radio-phones is kind of a crucial thing to one segment of the plot, so I had to check it out. It was very easy to do - I just dialed 0 on my phone and asked the operator. She was able to confirm it immediately so I was able to leave that detail as is. whew!
So now I wait for word that I've been assigned an editor. Getting a little impatient.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Rejection and Success

There has been some discussion, on one of the lists I frequent, about rejection. Someone had a book ms. rejected and someone else had a whole series turned down by her publisher. Such things are discouraging to say the least. Many responded with words of encouragement and wisdom.

Patricia Paddey quoted that day's devotional by Oswald Chambers. He is my all-time favourite devotional writer (click the link to read today's) so I pulled out his book and read the entire entry. In a nutshell he said that it's not the end result that God is concerned about, but the process. It was such a good reminder to me, even though I'm not facing rejection but have successfully placed my book with a publisher. It hit me that he has just as much to teach me through this success as he does through a failure.

I have long understood that God is teaching me a great deal about myself and about Him as I write. Writing is my journey to Him, so the process is definitely paramount. But it's also exciting to know that he uses the end result to His purposes and glory. What an astonishingly great God we serve!

On this Sunday - in a couple of hours here in Alberta - people all over the world will be meeting to worship Him. May it all add to His glory.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Done or Done?

Well, it's done - at least, maybe it's done. I just finished the final edit on One Smooth Stone. It's ready to go the editor. I think. I hope. Well, maybe I should go over it all again. Is it good enough? Are the characters real enough? The emotional pull strong enough? What difference will this book make, anyways? Maybe I should just toss it all and start again. No ... there is something there... but is it enough?
Ahhhh, the angst of the almost published!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

There's Karen...and then There's Tony

I read an interesting interview last night with Karen Hancock, a woman who has won three Christy Awards in a row. For those who might not know, that’s one of the top awards presented to a Christian author. The interview dealt mostly with how she writes – the disciplines she uses, the methods that work for her. Then the question that always comes up was asked – “What’s your marketing strategy?”

That’s a question that not only writers are interested in. Publishers want to know your answer up front, when you send them a proposal for a book. They want to know how you plan to sell it, if and when it is accepted for publication. It’s a question that most writers dread. Most just want to write. They don’t want to have to be bothered spending hours and hours planning how to sell their books. But, the reality is, they must. Publishers expect it.

It's a question I've been wrestling with for the past while, since I have a book being published in a few months. So I was more than a little surprised when Karen said that she is doing only a minimal amount of marketing. She said that God had made it clear at the very beginning that He was going to take care of it, so she was leaving it almost entirely up to Him.

But I read another article just a couple of days ago, about Tony Hines, another author whose work is gaining a following. I wouldn’t be surprised if his book is a Christy winner next year. Tony has a massive marketing strategy. When I look at what he’s doing I wonder when he sleeps – or writes. The article mentioned that the publisher who received his manuscript leaned strongly toward accepting it because of the marketing he was already doing. The book was good. The marketing strategy was awesome.

So, there’s Karen. And then there’s Tony. From the contact I’ve had with them, their books, and their plans, I believe they are both sincere and committed Christians. Two believers, two writers writing what they believe God wants them to write, two totally different approaches to doing it. So who’s right?

They both are. This is an example of how God works, uniquely and specifically in a person’s life. He has led Karen down one road and Tony down another. Both work because both are God’s ideas. So, what’s the bottom line? Find out what God’s idea is for you. He has one. Do a Biblical word search on words like, ‘plans,’ ‘prosper,’ ‘future,’ and see the pattern that emerges. Pray and ask Him to tell you. He will.

Jeremiah said it - “This is what the Lord says: … “For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (vs 11-13)

Our lives are a grand journey when we let God lead us through them. There’s Karen. And then there’s Tony. There’s Marcia. And then there’s … you.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Orson Scott Card on Writing about Religion

Here's an interesting link for an interview about the depiction (or lack thereof) of religion in the life of characters in literary or science

Friday, July 21, 2006

Word counts etc.

Just printed off a copy of the ms. - it's up to 279 pages on my computer now, about 69,500 words. My contract originaly said 82,000 words but the editor said he'd adjust it to 75,000, which I expect it will be by the time I'm finished. They have also agreed to remove the limit on the number of books I can buy at the discount, though they weren't willing to lower the discount at all. I'm still happy. And my editor said there would be more room to negotiate on a second book. I have some ideas floating around in my head for a sequel already. So, we shall see.
I'm going to sit down with the hard copy now and see how the changes I made fit, then make a few more probably. So .. off to work.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Almost finished

Yes, almost finished the proposal. I just have to find a couple more books that are similar in theme/genre etc. to mine. I find this hard to do. Comparisons are poor at the best of times when you're dealing with something so subjective as what I think of a book. So far I've listed one book that deals with similar themes of a nasty past and forgiveness. But the two books are not at all alike, really. I asked my list friends for help and have had a few suggestions, so must now try to run down these books. Hoping to find some in our church library - if I can get in the door. The tiny room where it's located right now is not exactly condusive to searching for a book. Sigh. Off I go.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Canadian writers featured

Check out this link to read about Canadian Christian writers, their thoughts on the recent awards and on the Canadian Christian publishing scene - yes, there really is one!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I received the contract from my publisher today. It's a lot less complicated than I thought it might be, and seems pretty straight forward. But just to make sure, I've asked a friend who has had a lot of books published to have a look at it and give me some feedback. I don't feel like I should make any demands, since I've won a contest to do this, but it will be interesting to see what he suggests.
My publisher also gave me the go-ahead to work on the ms. even though an editor hasn't been assigned yet. That's really great because one of the critiques I got from the contest was really good and I'm anxious to get at it and make some changes.
The proposal is coming along. It's a lot harder than I thought it would be, even tho' I already know the ms. has been accepted.
More later.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Good Question about Christian Writers

Some time ago, on a writer's list, someone asked, "What does a Christian writer have to offer?"

Good question.

I recently had to fly from one side of the country to the other and while in the airport in Toronto picked up a book put out by the PEN group called Writing Away. It included all the "top" names in the Canadian literary world. I started reading as my flight across the country took off and by the time I landed, some 4 hours later, my heart was saddened. These people have voices that are heard and respected, yet there was nothing - and I mean nothing - in any of the pieces in that book that gripped me in any way. One, written by a highly respected woman journalist was about all the places she has swum in her travels. Another blathered on about the food, etc. etc. It was a whole lot of nothing.

Then I read a short story online - go to this link to find it -

After reading that beautiful piece of writing, I think the answer is obvious. I cried out to God to help me write in a way that will move people as this story moved me.

What does a Christian writer have to offer? Something of substance, of reality, of hope and grace and light. Something that makes our hearts lean toward the God of our universe.

Oh, how we need to take this calling seriously!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Literary Mags

Check out this article on writing for Christian literary mags.

Brandilyn Collins

Here is something really different. But really cool.

Author (and blogger) Brandilyn Collins
has written a novel that comes out in August called Violet Dawn. It
is part of a new series she has started called the Kanner Lake Series. She sent out
Advance Reader Copies to those who requested them and asked them to
choose a character that they liked. Then she asked the readers to
send her a make believe post from the character for a make believe
blog by the 'Kanner Lake' make believe residents. This is going to be
an actual blog, called...Scenes and Beans, full of ficticious bloggers
written by real bloggers who liked Violet Dawn. Confusing? Well, it begins
today, July 5th! Go check it out by pressing the button
for Scenes and Beans!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I've been working on Smooth Stone a bit - changed a couple of paragraphs around, filled in here and there, but I need to do some work on the characters. Kenni especially is a bit flat. I need to fatten her up. :) My daughter, Laura is reading the ms. now with an eye for places where I could add some things to bring Kenni to life. I'm thinking of giving her a parrot. I've been wanting a parrot for some time, but can't afford one, so I think i'll give Kenni one instead.

The main character needs some work too and it's going to be a challenge to know how to bring him to life more.

I'm still waiting for word from the publisher about the contract, my editor's name etc. No details yet and I'm getting a little impatient. I need to get at the proposal too, which I've only just begun.

I bought a book at the Write! Canada conference that I've been wanting for some time - Self-editing for fiction writers. I've heard it's really good. Also want to read Story by McPhee.

So - I should get at them. ttylater. M

Saturday, July 01, 2006

One Smooth Stone

That's the title of my novel, which will be published by Castle Quay Books sometime next year. I've decided to make this blog into a journal of that journey. So, I'll start at the beginning.

It was born one Sunday after a woman from a local crisis pregnancy centre gave a talk at our church. I chatted with her afterwards (I had worked on the hotline for her organization) and we got talking about abortion. She said, "Can you imagine what it would be like for someone to discover his mother had tried to abort him?" I could and did and now it's going to be a book.

About that time I left a very stressful job, working on call as a unit clerk and admitions clerk at a local hospital. I tried applying for other positions and got very tired of hearing, "you were our second choice..." I was getting more than a little exasperated with God when a friend mentioned a small craft store in town was looking for someone part time. I talked with one of the owners who said I was over-qualified and they could only pay me just over minimum wage, but I had the job if I wanted it.

I talked with my husband and groaned about the wage, but he said, well, at least it's something going into the bank. So I took the job. My bosses (the business was owned by 4 women), told me I could do whatever I wanted with my time as long as there were no customers in the shop and things were neat and tidy. And they had a computer! With a disk drive! So ...

I wrote my book and got paid 7.00/hr. to do it! I also went from a job that was giving me high blood pressure, to a no-stress job that was a delight. God really does know best!