Thursday, December 21, 2006


DUKING IT OUT AT CHRISTMAS


Thankfully, it doesn't go this far at our place, but it rings true. Every year we have a hard time deciding where to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most years we spend one holiday with each side of the family, but this year we did something different. We had TWO Thanksgivings (is it any wonder I have a problem dieting? But I've now reached the 13 lb. mark!) and we're divvying up Christmas, too. Christmas Eve and Christmas morning will be with my parents, the afternoon and next day we'll spend with my husband's parents.


I probably won't be posting again until after Christmas, so I'll take this opportunity to wish you a merry one! I pray God's peace and blessing over you and your family as you celebrate.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS!



P.S. Check out more of John McPherson's cartoons here. They're a hoot!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What's with the FUNNY PUNCTUATION?

I'm a sucker for any book with the ragged-edged paper. You know, the kind that looks worn, and slightly discolored. If I find a book with that paper I almost always pick it up, thinking that if a publisher spent the money to use the special paper (does it even cost extra?) that the book must be a good read--i.e. The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, and The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield.

Last weekend I found The Keep, by Jennifer Egan, while writing/browsing/drinking coffee at Barnes & Noble. Without further examination, I buy said book with ragged-edged paper. Yesterday, I cracked it open, full of anticipation. (You know, I spend tons of time reading since I haven't been writing/blogging/reading blogs due to various baby sickness/teething issues.)

A few pages into the book, I realize there aren't any quotation marks. NO QUOTATION MARKS! People are talking willy-nilly all over the place without proper punctuation! Call me old-fashioned, but I like "'s! And here's the kicker: you know what everyone says about THE STORY being the most important element to keep the reader reading? It is so true, because I found that despite the bad words (and there are several) and the lack of quotation marks, I'm really enjoying this book!

I'm puzzled, though, because I can't figure out why someone would toy with punctuation. Well, I'm off to give the babies a nap (yes, I still have to drive around until they fall asleep!) and read The Keep. So can anyone clue me in as to what the deal is with this creative puntuation? I'd like to be in the know.

-----------------------------------------------

I had a great time reading during baby nap! Then I realized the book doesn't have ragged-edges, sheesh, I really should pay attention! It's got the binding where the edges don't line up properly, and makes you want to re-stack the pages.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Rather Sticky Story

On the way to rent movies after school, all my kids (14, 2, 1) sat in the backseat listening to the radio. My 2-year-old says over the music, "Mom, I have a surprise for you."

I love surprises, so I'm thinking she's about to give away a Christmas surprise, or something else juicy. I say, "What is it baby girl?" (Of course, I kept my eyes on the road, mostly.)

From the rear view mirror I watch her throw her arm into the air. She says, "I have candy in my armpit."

Somehow, this was not the surprise I had in mind. Amazing what a 2-year-old can come up with. I'm pretty sure there was no candy in her armpit, but oddly enough, this was not the first time she's told me this. Don't know where it's coming from. This time I told her that if she doesn't wash, she'll be growing potatoes instead. That ought to inspire regular bathing.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Cheer

Woo-hoo! This last weekend we finally did it, we decorated our home for Christmas--well, lights and stockings, anyway. Having a tree and a nativity set didn't seem like a good idea yet, since our youngest (1 yr.) tears through anything she can get her lil' hands on. Maybe next year.

We also got the annual Christmas letter written and cards signed and sent out. I'm telling you, we were on a roll. Sadly, my oldest daughter (14 yrs.) tried to make home made egg nog with a secret, unwritten recipe passed down by my father, and she didn't realize that vanilla extract should be used VERY sparingly. Before any of us knew how much she added, she took a big swig, and I think she was soused the rest of the night. Needless to say, that curbed her desire to ever tip the bottle.

All we have left to do is buy a few more presents, and wrap wrap wrap.


P.S. This weekend at church we were reminded that this season, while looking for presents, seek His presence!

Monday, December 11, 2006

After a nice request from Sue Dent, I'm re-posting my interview with her. Sue's book, Never Ceese toured the CFBA circuit last week.


A FEW MOMENTS WITH SUE DENT……

Tired of the same-old, same-old? Then it’s time to try something new, like Never Ceese, by Sue Dent. It’s a story about an unlikely alliance between a vampire and a werewolf on a quest to have their curses lifted—and decide for themselves where to spend eternity. Today, I’m pleased to have Sue join me.

ME: Hi Sue, first of all, I have to say you have a fantastic imagination! What was your inspiration for Never Ceese?

SD: I guess my main inspiration was a desire to create a vampire/werewolf fantasy that my friends could read without compromising their beliefs as a Christian. This genre so typically does this and I just wanted to make sure everyone knew it didn't have to.

ME: I think it’s great that you’ve given readers a fresh choice without having to violate their beliefs. Which writers have influenced your work the most?

SD: I mention John Grisham a lot when asked this question but this is mainly because he is who I've been reading a lot of lately. I read tons of Sci/Fi when I was younger, Roger Zelazny, Philip Jose Farmer anything I could get my hands on. I love Grisham's style though and I'd have to say, I go to his books a lot when I get stuck.

ME: Please take us through your typical day of writing, and your writing process.

SD: Are you sure your blog is big enough? Summer schedule is way different than the one I had when my two children were in school. When they're in school, I just set down and start writing from where I left off. Now, however, with one book published, I spend much time promoting. I do leave my sequel pulled up all day long and go to it often. I can't get nearly as much done with the kids home for summer but I try to write a little everyday. The second book is coming much more quickly to me and I have an ending so that's helpful. But typically, I write anytime I have nothing else to do. Sometimes I write even when there is something else to do thus explaining the mountains of laundry and dishes. I'm presently considering hiring someone to do laundry as I've found it doesn't do itself.

ME: When you say “you have an ending,” it makes me wonder if usually you don’t. Can I assume you are a pantser when it comes to plotting?

SD: Oh, definitely, yes, especially when it comes to plotting. The original theory I had was hmmm . . . I shall try to write a story about an uptight vampire! I had a good idea where I was going with it . . . sort of! But yes pantser all the way! That's what makes it fun. When I'm finished, however, I get my flowchart out, mark all the ends and make sure only the ones I want hanging are hanging. And as many ends as I tend to have, doing this is a good thing!

ME: How much of your story do you know before you start to write, and then how long does it take you to complete your book once you start?

SD: Okay, I'll try not to make this sound too kooky! There are absolutely sooooo many stories in my head. My mind is my playground. A story that might not look so interesting one day, comes to the forefront the next. I eventually just settle on one and go from there. Never Ceese took me roughly six months to write, with kids in school, and then my editor and I passed it back and forth for like three months. That entire time period before I contacted the editor was such an odd existence for me, I hid what I was trying to do from everyone. I felt like I was wasting my time because I had no idea what to do once I actually had something I thought could be edited. How to become a published author. Gosh, could anything be more confusing? Everyone knows what to do to become a vet, an engineer, a teacher, an accountant but just ask someone how to become a published author. Good Grief!!!

ME: Do you have any advice for other writers who choose to self-publish?

SD: Well, first and foremost, just pay attention. There are a lot of blogs out there, tons of information regarding POD's and self-publishing. Lots of warnings that should be heeded. Tons of people who can help you understand the difference in a POD and self-publishing. Initially, I self-published. I bought my block of ten ISBN's from Bowker (POD's supply you with one if you go with them but it's not yours. It's one of ten that belong to them and has that POD's name associated with it) I used one of my ten and now have nine ISBN's left that I will probably never use. Why? Because I now have a publisher, Journey Stone Creations and they use their own ISBN's. I did my own cover so that was no problem, had my MS professionally edited (most important thing a writer can do.) and I found an on-line printer, Fidlar Doubleday. I did my book set-up in MS word, sent it as the required PDF to my printer along with the cover and BAM! I was published. The next step is where the POD's and others claim they shine; getting your book out there. But guess what folks, they can't do anything you can't do yourself. Truth is, to get out there like you need to get out there, you need distributors. The only people who can offer this service are traditional publishers. Therefore, in my mind, for a writer to be successful in sales, they have to find a publisher. POD's are not a publisher. Booksellers know the difference.

ME: Like most moms, I'm sure you keep a hectic schedule. Tell us how you balance your writing with your other responsibilities.

SD: The balance changes a little when your writing starts looking like an actual income. I have a thirteen-year old who tends to stay busy with her own life and a seven-year old who likes to run mine! I'm upstairs on my computer a lot. I have a laptop so that when Reece wants to go outside, I go with him. He loves the fact that I write and actually told his friends at school once, when I went to eat lunch with him, that his mom makes books about vampires and werewolves. He then quickly says to their wide-eyed expressions, "but they're not real, they're fantasy." My schedule is as hectic as I make it. Fortunately, it wasn't that hectic to begin with. Things are beginning to spiral though!!

ME: A person's library says a lot about who they are, and I love to peek at what people are reading. What's in your TBR pile right now?

SD: Well, apparently Mr. Grisham has a new book coming out this Fall! He messed me up though because he usually put one out every year around my birthday. This time I've had to wait for like a year! My other TBR books are on a first grade level as when I do find time to read it is mostly to my son who, while having an IQ of 127, struggles with reading. Thank goodness it hasn't discouraged him though. He absolutely loves to read despite his having to try harder to learn.On a side note, the greatest challenge in my life to date, has been making a vampire/werewolf fantasy fit into the Christian fiction market. I am extremely grateful and overwhelmed with the reviews Never Ceese has garnished so far. God is good!

ME: Thanks for the interview Sue, and I wish you the very best with your new book, and with the sequel, Forever Richard.

Never Ceese is available now! Click here.

**Warning: this book contains some mild language.

Now let me tell you all what reading this book has done for me: it’s challenged me to stretch the boundaries of my creativity with my own writing. I’m challenged to keep my stories from becoming stale and predictable. Sue’s book fills a niche for Christians looking for a fantasy escape. Perhaps readers are more ready for something new than ever before!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dual Purpose Advice

I finally started reading Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell. Everyone--literally everyone--recommends this book. So me being the bandwagon girl that I am, I had to buy it. (Thanks Mom & Dad for the GC to B&N!) I haven't made it past Chapter 1 yet because there is so much meat to chew on. In fact, the piece of advice that struck me the most was in the introduction.

James Scott Bell talks about how he digests books on writing, and as I read it I realized that the suggestions would be perfect for studying the Bible, too. Here's his process:

*Read with a yellow highlighter.
*Read again with a red, felt-tip pen to mark things missed the first time through.(However, I wouldn't suggest a felt-tip pen for a Bible!)
*Go through a third time and make notes about new insights on a yellow pad.
*Then take the notes and type them.

I'll confess here and now that I checked out most of the craft books I've read from the library, so you'll be glad to know I didn't use a yellow highlighter and felt-tip pen. Recently, however, I've purchased 9 (YES, 9!) writing books, but have only highlighted one (Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.) While I don't think I'll get quite as carried away with studying each writing book, I may do so with my Bible.

Here's my question for you: how many craft books do you have, and do the insides of yours look like James Scott Bell's?



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ROUND

I'll bet you thought I was talking about dieting again, eh? Nooooo, although it's always an issue since I can't seem to break the 10 lb. barrier. (The fact that I was snacking on Flaming Hot Cheetos this morning has nothing to do with it!)

Yesterday I read some of my old writing that came across as flat. It was mechanically good, interesting story (IMO), funny characters, but it wasn't round. Full. I can't put my finger on the missing ingredient. Is it setting, description? Now I'm racking my brain trying to think of what it is that makes a good book feel satisfying--round, if you will.

That's always when I turn to you all. What do you think makes a story feel round?

P.S. Thanks for all the prayers--the kids are all better, and life has moved on!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

GMC

I have become my own best example of GMC.

GOAL: Georgiana D desperately seeks to write books and become a published author.

MOTIVATION: She feels God's call on her life, and has a deeply-rooted desire to encourage and entertain her sisters in Christ.

CONFLICT: Mountains of laundry myteriously appear, waiting to be stain-sticked and folded; cars suddenly need antifreeze and replacement turn signals; babies cry out from the pain of teething and wet diapers.

Will Georgiana D navigate the obstacles of life to write books and fulfill her desire to become a published author?


I'd LOVE to hear the conflicts you encounter every day when you're writing. I know I'm not alone in this!
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