Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Per yesterday's post, I refuse to acknowledge Halloween. Instead, I hereby declare today (drumroll, please......)


Like it? Are you ready for NANO? Last year when I participated I had everything lined up:

**support from my family

And I finished, too! Granted, I finished with a manuscript that ought to be burned. I'm pretty sure I created the world's worst--make that absolute worst--heroine. Her name was Claire, and beyond that I didn't know much about her. She was weak and whiny, and even I didn't like her. The only character in the story who was worthy of paper, I killed in a tragic wreck about halfway through the book. There was just no other way for him to go.

Since then I've learned a ton about writing, the most important thing being that I have the ability to finish a novel. Before last November I lacked that confidence. This year I won't be participating in NANO since I already started the novel I want to work on, and I'm now three chapters in. But I would like to make a November push, meaning a specific daily goal that's big enough to stretch me. One chapter a day, which should equal about 1800-2000 words (my chapters tend to be short) is what I'm going for.

What about you?

Monday, October 30, 2006


I may be in the minority on this one, but we don't celebrate Halloween. Not even a pumpkin. Nada. Everywhere we go in town there it is, and it seems that more and more people are decking out their homes with bodies hanging from trees, headstones, and cobwebs. And then there's the television; shows we usually enjoy are littered with Halloween references. We've always ignored it, but I have to say that it's getting more difficult than it was even a few years ago. Back in my retail days there was a big push on decorations, to the point where Halloween was second only behind Christmas.

Many wonderful Christians we know do celebrate Halloween, but our personal conviction has been to leave it alone. My oldest daughter never had a problem with not participating in it, especially after reading about the true origins, etc. But now I have a new crop of kids. And people who are close to us would love to carve pumpkins, dress them up, and feed them candy. My problem is this: how do I tell them "NO" without coming across as "holier-than-thou?" I think I deflected it this year, but not without hurt feelings, and I know that the same issue will arise next year, too. Thoughts?

P.S. Speaking of my kids, I went to my daughter's open house and (you're not going to believe this) but she has the same locker I had! I could burst into a chorus of "Memories," but I'll spare you...this time.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I’m on a quest…a quest to improve my writing, that is. I go through spurts of devouring craft books, then not wanting to touch one for months. There was a period of time where I spent way more time on writing message boards and reading about writing than actually writing. At that point I made a deal with myself to spend at least the same amount of time on both. Like many of you I’ve read Writing the Breakout Novel, and now I’m going through the workbook. Both, excellent.

Last week I picked up Will Write for Shoes, How to Write a Chick Lit Novel,
by Cathy Yardley. It’s full of info for chick lit writers from the history of the genre to chick lit groups and basically all things chick lit. But it also has info beneficial to writers of all genres, and gets the point across in a totally fun way. (I think we can all admit that some books on writing are, well…dry.) There’s one exercise in the book called PRIMING YOUR VOICE that stood out to me. Many of you may have heard of this before, but it’s new to me, so I couldn’t wait to share.

The author says that when she wants to find a particular voice for a story, she’ll load her brain with things she thinks will influence her writing. She will watch and re-watch certain movies and listen to music that will set the right mood for the book.

Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that? I’m sure it’s something that has been said before, but somehow I missed it. Because I’ve been struggling to make the voice for my new book distinct from my last book, I’m going to spend time on this exercise. Since I want my new book to be funny with a little bit of sass, here’s what I’m going to do to PRIME MY VOICE:

*watch My Best Friend’s Wedding (it doesn’t resemble my story, but the tone is right)
*listen to All Star United (are they even still a group?)
*read People magazine, and watch a bit of reality TV because I think that’s what my heroine would be reading/watching

Who says research isn’t fun? I can’t wait to get started. What do you do to prime your voice?

Monday, October 23, 2006


Yeah, I've moved up the food chain (or is it a lateral move?) from SLOTH to BEAVER, as in BUSY as a BEAVER. Can you see my beaver buck teeth? (Yes, I actually have big teeth, as pointed out to me by my daughter and sister on numerous occasions, but that's beside the point.)

Anyway, I decided against pursuing the YA novel for now, because there's NO WAY I can nail a teen voice without a lot of practice first. And you know teens--if you're not real, they'll call you out on it. Also, I need to read teen lit. For now, my story idea will get tucked away for that proverbial day when I have more time.

So what am I working on now, you ask? Another chick lit, of course! I love chick lit. I'm excited about my new idea, and it's fun to work on a new project. I'm developing the goals, motivation, and conflict, and hopefully mapping out my story so I can get to the writing. This time I'm trying to write the synopsis first; we'll have to see how that pans out. As usual, lack of patience is my biggest obstacle because I'm anxious to dig into the meat.

How is your project coming along?

Thursday, October 19, 2006


No, not the animal that hangs upside-down in trees. And I'm not talking about a pack or group of bears. I'm talking about me, in regards to my writing this week. Sloth isn't exactly the word I wanted to use to describe myself, but there you have it.

A not-so-funny thing happened after I finished my last book: I froze. I thought I knew what I wanted to work on next--the YA story I told you about a few posts back. I wrote the first 2 paragraphs and they were funny, even according to my teenager. But the more I wrote, the more it stank. Seriously. I know what my problem is, too, it's that I need to read more YA before I attempt to write it.

I have another novel idea, but I'm still developing the characters. This idea came to me toward the end of revisions for my last book so I thought I had a good start on the new idea. As it turns out, I don't want to write blind like I did last time, making 30 false starts.

Lesson learned: it's never too early to develop a story idea so when finished with one project, the next one is ready to write.

So here I sit vascillating between projects. Sheesh, you'd think I would have at least blogged this week! But I have resolved within myself to work on my new book today, even if it means 30 false starts on this manuscript too. Here I go!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Violette Between

From the back cover:

A true artist, Violette is passionate and emotional. Climbing back into life after suffering a loss, she teeters on the precipice of a new relationship with Christian, a psychologist who not only understands her struggles but offers safety and his heart.

As Violette and Christian begin to feel something they both thought impossible, tragedy strikes again. Violette becomes trapped in a place of past memories—and she finds that she may not want to come back. What would it be like to choose a place between the past and the present?

Here’s my take:

What a great book! Inventive in style, and original in content, Violette Between explores the complexity of a new relationship. With fluctuating emotions and questions about God and life, the characters aren’t perfect. They have questions. They have issues. The book’s take on relationships, not only between people but also with God, makes Violette Between realistic and honest. The skill with which Alison alternates POV’s and moves between the past and the present makes the book an enjoyable, seamless read.

Make sure while you’re out and about this weekend to add this to your TBR pile. Or better yet click http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1578567947
or visit Alison at her site http://alisonstrobel.com/

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Genre Jumper

All of the recent discussion on the ACFW loop about branding and genre has got me thinking about what I'm called to write. Of course, the fact that I’m still unpublished means it’s not as big an issue for me as it is for someone who actually has something in print. But still.

Before I started writing toward publication I dabbled in a little bit of everything. The more serious I became about my writing, the more I focused on Women’s Fiction. That is until late one night, poised at my keyboard, I hopped off on a bunny trail. Stop me if I’ve told you this story before:

The scene I was working on was from the POV of the pastor’s wife during the funeral of a beloved member of the church while her husband was delivering the salvation message. There were tears and sniffles, and her husband said, “With every head bowed, and with every eye closed…” That’s when the pastor’s wife thought that she knew every eye closed included both of hers, but she had been a peeker since childhood, and really, what was the big deal?

That’s when I switched to Chick Lit. Honestly, I laughed myself silly some nights when I was writing my last book. It was SO much fun. I thought for sure I’d found my niche. And I did, sort of. I figure it’s kind of like switching majors in college, which I did plenty of times, too. (Started out as a music major, transferred to journalism, finished with a degree in PR.)

Now I have a new burning passion, a story that must be told. It’s an inspirational Teen Lit. It’s along the same lines as what I wrote last time, but a with a younger cast of characters. Here’s the problem: I haven’t read any. That means I really have my work cut out for me if I decide to go forward with this one. I know we are supposed to read widely, especially what we want to write. But I DO have a teen daughter to help me with the teen voice, and my dad is an asst. principal at the high school and can possibly help me with research. I’m still praying about it, so we’ll see what happens.

So what do you write, and how did you come by your decision?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Food Issues...

I hate to be the weirdo here, but since it's my blog I suppose I'll get the ball rolling on this one. Is anyone else as freaked out as I am with all the e-coli? Is this one of those end times epidemic situations we read about in the Bible, or merely a biological inconvenience? I had spinach on my grocery list right before the news broke. Beef, well, we're big beef people. In an effort to right our dietary wrongs, I decided to get back into salads, and again, planned to buy lettuce. And we all know what happened there. Yes, I know I'm being a bit irrational, and not every piece of produce is a culprit, but that's me.

With small kids, I can't be too careful. My heart hurts for the mom who lost her two-year-old son, when she was trying to do the healthy thing by making a spinach smoothy. So naturally, I'm wary of all produce.

Sadly, this e-coli stuff has sent me to my freezer. Yes, I admit that I've been feeding my family way-less-than perfectly these last few weeks. (My newest discovery is the Schwan's mini cinnamon rolls; they heat up in the microwave, and have a nice frosting to drizzle over the top. And really, what kind of friend would I be if I didn't tell you about this?)

So how about you? Have your eating habits changed since the outbreak? Any suggestions that might pull me away from my freezer and back into the produce aisle?

P.S. This is my scripture for the day, which falls right in line with this topic: Psalm 91:5-7

Friday, October 06, 2006


We are a lovey-dovey family in a big way. My husband and I always get called-out by our family for PDA, and the kids...oh the kids! We volley "I love you" around all day long, and we all get big hurt feelings if we don't get our share of the hugs and kisses. Have I made you sick yet? Stick with me.

So my oldest daughter (14) started high school this year after having been home schooled for two years. The babies and I miss her terribly during the day. In fact, my two-year-old cried yesterday when we dropped her off. (That's just one reason I leave the babies home with my husband when we leave for school in the morning.)

True to the nature of our family, when my daughter began to climb out of the car, I tossed her a cheerful wave and shouted, "I love you!"

With big eyes, she re-closed the door and said, "Shhh! You're embarrassing me!"

Talk about hurt feelings! I have now become the old mom (I'm only 34!) that embarrasses her daughter. I know this happened to my parents, but c'mon. Call me naive, but I actually thought we'd be exempt from teenage-itis. Rats! We came so close! I guess some things don't change.

Something else that hasn't changed since I was in high school: eating in the cafeteria is for nerds. My daughter informed me that the lunch tote I got her is dorky, and there's no way--NO WAY--she'll take it to school. Looking back, I feel kind of bad about all the apples/bananas/sandwiches I didn't eat after my dad lovingly packed my lunch every morning when I was in high school. (Sorry Dad!) At least my baby is honest, eh? Bottom line: if that's the worst thing my teen does, I am SO very blessed. She is an awesome daughter. That's probably why I want to shout, "I love you!" when she leaves for the day.

In other news, my TBR pile is basically gone. GONE! Any recommendations?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Remember this song from the 80's? It may have come from a movie, but I'm not sure. Anyway, it signifies exactly where I am in my writing as of today. This morning I printed off my final copy of my WIP, and I'm not touching it again. (At least that's what I'm trying to convince myself.)

That being said, I'm developing my next story, and I need a hero. In my last book (I can say "last book" now!) my hero is an unlikely fellow. I tried to write him so that he isn't the obvious choice, at first, but when it happens it's like, "well of course he's the right guy!" He is patient, loving, and in an unconventional sense, handsome. But now that I'm looking at the new story, I'm having a bit of hero trouble.

My question to you is, what do you think makes a well-written hero? How do you develop yours? (And please don't tell me they just come to you, because that wouldn't be nice, LOL!)

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