Saturday, June 30, 2007

Exciting News!

This has been a fantastic week full of celebration for me. My agent contacted me on Monday to tell me that my editor called to offer me a contract on the sequel to Cradle of Secrets. I'm so thrilled to be publishing another book with Steeple Hill and so happy that I'll get to continue the series that I've started.
The tentative title of this next book is Desperate Secrets, but it looks like it will change. This story is about Dylan's kid sister, Sonny Montgomery, and a very handsome and sexy bounty hunter on the hunt for Sonny and Dylan's brother, Cash, who you'll learn all about in Cradle of Secrets, the first book in the series which is due out 11/07.
To celebrate my new sale, the girls and I went out for dinner. The girls (my 3 teenage daughters) and I don't really need an excuse for a girl's night out of dinner and lots of laughs, but my sale provided a nice reason.
Anyway, I'll be finishing the writing on this next book in the coming months. It'll be a nice diversion while I wait for Cradle of Secrets to hit the stands!

Until next week, many blessings!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I got my first revision letter from Steeple Hill yesterday. I know this is going to sound crazy, but I LOVED reading it. My editor has a fantastic reputation for pushing writers to improve their stories and characterization. If you want to learn to write, many authors have told me to write for her.

After reading this letter, I agree.

Yes, she has several direct criticisms of the way the book is structured right now. But I know that each of those is rooted in a desire to make the book stronger and better.

And frankly, I need the direction.

Deadly Exposure is the best book I can make it. But that doesn't mean it's done. Instead, I know there are many places it can be improved. With Krista's help, I'm identifying them.

This isn't my first revision letter. I've had the pleasure of going through this process once with my other publisher. In a sense I'm broken in and know what to expect. What impresses me most about the editors I work with is that they want to make me look better.

In the revision process, I'll learn many things. Hopefully, I'll then apply these new skills to future books. I often pray for a teachable spirit that is eager to learn everything I can about writing -- especially where my writing is weak.

I now understand why authors like Colleen Coble say they love getting revision letters. With my editor's guidance, this book will come to life in a way that will hopefully resonate with readers. And that, after all, should be the goal of all writers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Stress Becomes You

I'm preparing to teach a Bible lesson tomorrow. It's about stress. Funny, when I typed in keywords about stress - trying to find out what the top stressors were - I found more solutions for stress than identifications of stress. Finally, after maneuvering through lots of sites that claimed public speaking is more feared than death - surprising - I found the list of top stresses. Here they are:
· Death of a loved one or friend
· End of a relationship
· A move, change of schools, or change of jobs
· Money problems
· Loss of position, standing, or ranking
· Physical, sexual, or verbal abuse
· Overwhelming pressure from coaches, peers, employers, or family
· An accident or injury

I'll probably add public speaking during my lesson tomorrow. I can even quote a Seinfeld episode that says that during a funeral, most would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.

This got me thinking about romance writers, and our greatest stressors, sooooo
· Loss of an editor (probably she's pregnant)
· End of a series that we really loved writing (Will Rawlings really end the Harry Potter book! Say It Isn't So!)
· A move to a different house, change of genres, or change of word count (What do you mean my suspense needs to be 50,000 words in stead of 75,000!)
· Money problems (Just what is basket accounting anyway?)
· Loss of position, standing, or ranking (Please, Walmart, put my book on your shelf!)
· Reviewer abuse (Mrs. Giggles Wants You!)
· Overwhelming pressure from readers, peers, editors, or family (You want it when! and You want me to remove how many secondary characters?)
· An accident or injury to the computer or disk the complete manuscript was on (Anyone besides me ever rewrite 5000 words from memory?)

This rant about stress started when my two-year-old woke up an hour early and decided it was most fun to rearrange the papers that were coming out of my printer. Not only did he get the pages out of order, but if he happened to the take the paper out before the printer fully released it, the printer jammed. I guess this falls under overwhelming pressure from family. Oh, and this is definitely a post with an ick factor, but later in the day, the cat threw up on my desk Easy clean up, since I just had to throw away papers.

Why does the whole house choose my office to play in!!!!

Well, all, have a great stress free day.
Oh, and write five pages.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer days and weeding...

It may only be June 22, but I can already feel the cold November coming my way. Let me explain.

This week I got a clean copy of my book Cradle of Secrets which is due to be released 11/07. You'd think after writing and editing the book I'd be tired of reading it, but quite the contrary. It has spurred a new excitement in me that my book is actually going to be a reality! More on that soon!

To give you a little bit of information about me, I like to garden. I'm not in love with it, but I enjoy it. There's something about putting seeds in the ground and watching them grow into something beautiful. I admit that I like the results of my work more than the doing.

When my kids were toddlers, I had a small vegetable garden the two things that were the biggest hit were carrots and peas. They loved to pull the little shoots out of the ground and see the carrot that had been growing there. They also loved to pull off the pea pods and crack them open to see the little peas inside. Of course, I could never get them to actually "eat" them, but it was definitely a fun treat.

I don't have a vegetable garden anymore, but I do have my flower beds around the yard and they are filled with perennials that I planted years ago when we first built the house. Unfortunately, as I gear up for the National conference, I find myself weeding with an 8 foot hoe instead of just reaching into the ground and yanking out the weeds. It seems poison ivy has invaded my flower beds once again and rather than look like a burn victim (memories of my last outbreak three years ago are still fresh in my mind) when I go to meet my editors in Dallas, I'll just deal with an overgrown garden. I'm thinking of telling my neighbors, who have always praised me for having such a pretty garden, that I'm experimenting with the "cottage" look. It's either that or I'll end up hiding behind a mortgage pamphlet again when I go to the bank so I don't scare any small children when they see just how allergic to poison ivy I am.

Not weeding my garden has given me more time to write, which is good. I'm revising another proposal for Steeple Hill and am working on a manuscript for Harlequin Romance. These summer days have made me feel energized to be more productive. Now if I can only get my kids to clean their rooms, I'll be golden!

Until next week, many blessings!


Monday, June 18, 2007

Just Another Mantic Monday

I love Mondays, which is why I chose to be Monday's Craftie Lady. Like many people, I choose Monday to regroup. If I've gotten behind on my writing, it's always Monday when I regroup. If I diet, I start on Monday. Actually, I think the people who can let go of the Monday frame of mind are the real go-getters. If I regrouped, say on Wednesday, my manuscript might be 20 pages fuller; my diet goal might be a lost-pound closer.

The family and I vacationed this weekend, with a two year old. We did Jerome, Arizona. I've been there many, many times but never get tired. My writer mind was most impressed this time by my sister-in-law's input. Seems that as a child, she spent lots of time in Jerome before it went commercial. Back then, it was a ghost town. Hmm, I have a ghost town in the book I'm writing. Did I listen to her? Yup.

Next we went to Indian ruins. I can't spell the name of the place we went to, and I don't want to look it up. Suffice it to say, we arrived after five, the vistor's center was closed and we got to climb the Anasazi ruins without a crowd. Wow, to think my tennis-shoed feet were treading where the old ones tread so many years ago. Did I get ideas. You bet. I'm thinking forest ranger!

The Grand Canyon was our biggest adventure. Good news: been there, done that. Bad news: With a two year old, a stroller, and mega crowds, this time wasn't as much fun. Story ideas all had to do with sweat, waits, and hunger. Well, the secondary plot would be good. Vacations are always better when taken with family :)

We stayed in Williams, Arizona. That's where the train to the Grand Canyon is housed. We didn't take the train - although my son, a Thomas the Train fan, would have liked to - we drove. Williams was hosting a biker weekend, and yes, my story idea has a biker for a hero. I saw one I wanted. LOL, don't tell my husband!

Our last tourist bit was in Camp Verde, where we toured the old fort and I learned what a stryker was.

Now it's Monday, I wrote all of five sentences while on vacation. Which means not double, not triple, but quad duty this week. Oh, Mikey starts swim lessons this morning! Story idea? Not a chance. Me, in a bathing suit, with all those 20 somethings. Eek. I'm not only Mommy come lately, but Body gone early.

Happy writing!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Really Should...Really Am... Really Will

My aunt and cousin are coming for lunch today. I really should clean the house (I lost a pillow yesterday - it went into the washing machine and didn't come out. It's probably bullying some socks somewhere. Oh, and Mikey took off his diaper about a month ago, and I still haven't found it - but the cleaning lady's been here twice since, and she hasn't found it either). I'm teaching a class at my church tomorrow. It's called What I Did and Did Not Learn From Eve. I'm writing it myself. I really should start tomorrow's lesson. (I've got some ideas....) I need to make this week's writing goals. I really should do this first since I have a deadline of August 1. Writing down daily page count goals works for me, sometimes.

This morning I woke up with five really shoulds. I'm on really should number two. It's 7:17 and I got up at 6:17. I - just got interrupted with two really shoulds I'd hoped to put off. The first one. I really should see if that noise I hear is the baby crying. That, of course, led to my next really should: I really should wean this kid from the bottle . Okay, back to topic. It's now 7:39, and I woke up at 6:17. I have three of my really shoulds done: I really did post the lesson for the online course I'm teaching. I really did get my son out of bed and started on his day. I really am keeping up with my Monday goal of blogging (notice I'm Monday's Craftie Lady). Here's another truth... I really will write five pages.

I guess I'm writing this post to say if you really want to be a published writer, then you really will write. Even when your really should list is so loaded, you're sure you'll have to schedule in time to take a shower.

By the way, this rant all started because I'm so busy I couldn't remember the name of the book I'm reading. It's Cold Feet by Brenda Novak.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Good books and progress

There are always times in a writer's life that make them excited to be a writer. I know that when the words are flowing smoothly and the characters and the story is revealing itself to me as I type, it's fabulous. I call it being in the zone!

Outside of actual writing, there are other times when a writer gets excited about being a writer. Like today. I received the author alteration (AA's) copy of my book, Cradle of Secrets which will be available November 2007 by Love Inspired Suspense. This is the copy that I get to send out to reviewers and is almost exactly like what the final book will be. As I sit here going through page after page I'm not thinking of all the work that went into the story, I'm thinking of the final result and how I can't wait to go to the store and buy my first copy of the book from the bookshelf. (Yes, even though authors get author copies we still buy our books just because...)

Today I got to live vicariously through my friend Cathy McDavid when I went to the store and bought her first Harlequin American called His Only Wife. It doesn't matter that I didn't write the book. As an author and member of several writer's groups I know how much thought and love and work goes into the making of each and every book that gets printed. It's a thrill to share that excitement with a friend.

I've read a lot of good books lately and I always like to share stories that get me excited. Pursuit of Justice by Pamela Tracy is a great read and I stayed up later into the night than I should have to finish reading it. Another great book from a Love Inspired Author I just finished was Nowhere to Hide by Debbie Guisti. If you've just read a great book, drop me an email and let me know. I love hearing about new authors and good stories!

Until then, many blessings!


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Getting Back the Muse

I'm on page 132 of my current manuscript, Broken Lullaby, due August 1st. I've lost the thread. Yup, a five day camping trip with an uncharged laptop was a very effective roadback. I'm currently rereading. I've discovered a few name changes. I've got Roberto, Adolfo, and Alberto. There are clearly too many 'o' people in my book. I'm amazed by the writing process, at least how I use it. I went to a workshop hosted by Brenda Joyce a few months ago. She said that on Mondays and Tuesdays, she wrote 20 pages. On Wednesday and Thursday, she wrote ten pages, and then on Friday and Saturday, she wrote five pages. That's 70 pages a week! Wow. That's basically a series book every five weeks. My goal, after hearing the talk was ten pages a day. Memo to self: Brenda does not have a two-year-old (horses don't count).
Book: I'm reading Undercover Blessing by Deb Kastner
Question to self: How much romance do readers expect in a Love Inspired Suspense. The best review I received for Pursuit of Justice said there was not much romance. True. The reviewer also mentioned that because of the fast pace, there really wasn't much of a chance for a legitimate romance. I agree. I wrote the thing. It basically took place in under two weeks, and personally, if someone was trying to kill me, finding Mr. Right would take second place to finding a good place to duck the bullets. My second book The Price of Redemption has more romance. But, still, the book takes place in weeks not months. It took me about three months to fall in love with my husband, and there were no bullets or dead bodies distracting me. Okay, he was distracting, but in a good and safe way :)
Enough ramblings for today. I need to be writing and/or reading.

Mark 16:16