Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Writer's View

If you're an aspiring writer and want to get a "writers conference in your inbox," consider joining The Writer View. It's free. It's amazing. And, seriously, you'll learn everything you'd learn at a writer's conference (sans meeting cool people face to face), only you don't have to pay airfare!

This is an email loop and this is how it works: Each Monday and Thursday a panelist poses a question about the publishing industry, the craft of writing, or anything related to the writing journey. These panelists are agents, editors, writers who are well known in the Christian writing industry. Then, panelists and members write posts about the question raised. I still learn new things every week. It's a moderated loop, so there's no blatant self promotion. Word counts are limited to 250 per post.

For beginning to intermediate writers, the group to join is TWV 2. Click here.

For advanced, published writers, join The Writers View. Click here.

You will be asked to fill out an application that you then send to the group's leadership. You'll receive an email letting you know whether you've been accepted.

I'm a panelist for The Writers View, and I love it!! Also, be sure to tell all your friends!

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sum it up...

If you could sum up your writing in three words or phrases, how would YOU do it? Someone asked me this ... and now I'm asking you.

I'll cheat and share what one reader shared with me. A reader wrote me once that she loved these three elements of my novels: historical facts, human feelings, and a higher purpose.

My goal for my novels is to put my characters in true historical events and have the reader experience all the fears, worries, hopes, failures and triumphs along with the characters. I also have multiple story lines that come together to reveal God's higher purpose. In fact, seeing how the storylines come together give the readers a glimpse that God is working through us ALL four our JOINT purposes.

That's how I see myself. For those of you who've read my novels, would you agree?

Now, what about YOU?

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Guest Blogger...Cara Putman

Last week we talked about author photos over at ACFW. What do people think when they see them? What do they say? Do you ever see the author as the heroine or hero after seeing their photo, etc.?

Then as I cleaned my desk -- a task that desperately needed doing -- I ran across a recent letter from a friend that I've recently reconnected with, Sandy Dengler.

In addition to a very kind review of her thoughts on Canteen Dreams and it's strengths, she made a comment about my photo on my business card.

That photo is me sitting on the railroad tracks. The sun is shining brightly against the snow that blankets either side of the tracks. I will NEVER forget how cold I was during that shoot. Fortunately, you can't see in the photo how bluish/purple my hands were!

But Sandy said something interesting: "The subject is at one point on a long journey to unknown horizons, to infinity, straight and true."

Wow, that really ministers to me.

When I read it the first time several weeks ago, I still thought one contract was more likely than not. Now it isn't. And I'm floundering a bit.
Asking, no begging, God to show me where He wants me right now. And it's hard because I don't know what I'm supposed to do.

But what a wonderful reminder from Sandy, that God controls my journey into unknown horizons. And in His hands, from His perspective, it looks straight and true. While from my perspective it can look derailed or side-tracked.


Now to hone the ability to hear what He wants me to do in these moments of rest and unknown.


Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tip for the day

I love checking out authors that are new to me. Seeing what they're about and finding out about their writing. Today, I was glimpse through the webpage of author Kristi Holl and I found on her website she offers FREE Mystery Writing Lessons here:


She also has a Writer's First Aid blog that looks AMAZING!

If you comment be sure to tell her I sent you!!!

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends! Last week's winner was Cindi Choppes who left a comment on the GenX Parenting blog! Thank you for un-lurking! Send me your book choice and mailing address!

Monday, February 25, 2008


The first time I'd attended a writer's conference I had only been writing about six months. I worried that more than one publisher would like my stuff. How could I say no to one over another? I was VASTLY disappointed.

The main thing I learned at this conference is how much I had to learn. I attended workshops. I took lots of notes. I listened more than I spoke. I met with a few editors, but again ... I listened. And I also met a lot of other writers who I built friendships with.

The next year I have to admit that I was again worried about what I'd do if more than one publisher was interested in my stuff. You'd think I would have learned! The truth was I HAD learned a lot in that year. I thought I was ready for publication. I'd grown a lot, but not far enough. Again I attended workshops. I took lots of notes. I listened more than I spoke. I met with a few editors, but again I .... listened. And I also met a lot of other writers who I built friendship with. (Sound familiar?) This second year I also started an email prayer group with some of the writer's I met. These friendships deepened. They are still dear to me.

By the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh year (you get the picture), I was starting to realize what conferences are about. They are about learning and connecting. NOT about selling. At each conference I prayed for divine appointments, and sometimes I didn't understand until years later how these appointments would play out.

I also learned that editors 1) are real people, 2) are only human, 3) and are biased. Each one likes what he/she likes. But they are also 1) insightful, 2) wise, and 4) helpful ... if you can take the time to glean information from them.

Even though I've written fourteen books and hundreds of articles I still try to listen more than I talk and learn as much as I can.

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends! Last week's winner was Cindi Choppes who left a comment on the GenX Parenting blog! Thank you for un-lurking! Send me your book choice and mailing address!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fiction/Non-fiction platforms by Rachel Gardner

Here is some great information that literary agent, Rachel Gardner has graciously allowed me to share on my blog...

What is a platform?

Your platform refers to the means by which YOU will help sell your book by your presence in the media and/or the public sphere, or at least within the audience you hope to reach with your book.In non-fiction, publishers want to see what the author is already doing to get their message out there—before the book is published or even contracted. In fiction, they want to see that you know what it will take to begin building a platform once your book is contracted, and that you will be an active participant in the marketing of your book. You tell them this in your proposal.

Is platform different for fiction authors than it is for non-fiction authors?


For fiction, a large platform isn’t necessary to sell your book to a publisher. Helpful, but not necessary.

In non-fiction, it’s fast becoming the #1 consideration. In most cases, it’s necessary to have some type of platform before your book can sell to a publisher. The size of platform required depends on the book, the topic, and the publisher.

In what other ways do fiction and non-fiction platforms differ?

Non-fiction writers need to have a pretty good platform prior to selling the book to a publisher. Fiction authors need to be prepared to start building one after their book is contracted (if they haven’t already) by finding ways to increase their following and reader loyalty.

Author marketing efforts are proven to help sell non-fiction books. However in fiction, nobody is really clear whether author marketing efforts translate to significantly greater sales or not. The prevailing wisdom is that it certainly doesn’t hurt, and publishers will take every edge they can get. As my friend Jeff Gerke says, “As far as I can tell, no one has figured out how to promote a novel so well that jillions of people go buy it who wouldn't have otherwise. Even secular publishing doesn't really know how to promote fiction. Everybody just wants it to be a movie.”

A non-fiction platform can be much more targeted than that of most novelists, since it’s based on a particular topic, whether it be parenting, Christian life, marriage or whatever. Non-fiction authors can target publications, websites, radio shows (etc) that address their topic. Fiction readers are more difficult to categorize.

What if I have a non-fiction book idea but no platform?

I would strongly recommend you take the time and effort needed to begin building a platform (even if it takes a year or two...or more). Without a platform, no matter how good or helpful the book is, publishers are simply not giving good books the time of day (sorry to say). Your next option is to self publish and sell the books yourself, which many authors are having to do.

Is blogging considered a platform?

I think a blog is a good tool for those who enjoy it and have the time to maintain it. I believe it gets writers used to writing everyday and engaging audiences. It helps you learn what people respond to (and what bores them to death). And yes, it can definitely build your visibility on the web. It's a great way to begin capturing names and email addresses for that all-important database that publishers want you to have. However, a blog does not a platform make. See this post by Rob Eagar of Wildfire Marketing on the dangers of blogging.

I am overwhelmed and don’t even know where to start.

Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, start with good website. Not just a blog. Get a professionally designed website that tells about you. Visit your favorite authors on the web to get ideas of what a good author site looks like.

Begin getting yourself used to speaking in public. Volunteer to teach a Bible study or Sunday school class, then move up to speaking in slightly larger venues such as a women’s luncheon. Join Toastmasters if you need to. Speaking experience is helpful for both fiction and non-fiction authors, since either way, you might eventually be doing radio interviews, book signings, and other events. You want to be ready.

Try to place articles in magazines, journals, newspapers, even if they’re just local. Again, this is helpful for both fiction and non. It helps prepare you for the realities of publishing, and it can even begin to create a small following for you.

Next week I'll post Rachel's entries on both fiction and non-fiction specific platforms.

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Writer's Digest Book Club

Deb Raney sent this to me...I thought I'd pass it along!

I'm sure many of you are already members of the Writer's Digest Book Club, but if you're not and you've thought about joining, now would be a great time to do it!

Not only do you get 4 book for under $20 (that includes shipping, and no more books to buy ever), but the selections in this month's catalog could not be more appropriate for Christian writers! Here are just a few of the featured selections:

*Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008 by Sally Stuart

*Writing the Christian Romance by Gail Gaymer Martin

*The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Christian Fiction by Ron Benrey

*The New Writer's Handbook 2007 (lots of contributors, including yours truly)

*Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

*Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

*Writing the Breakout Novel PLUS the workbook at a great savings!

*Stein on Writing (my personal favorite craft book ever) for $7.95!!!

...and TONS of other books for specific genres.

They also have Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition that includes a CD-Rom and a one-year subscription to the Collegiate Website at a discount. I find the website and the CD-Rom so valuable that I've re-subscribed ($14.99) every year since I bought my new dictionary. The website lets you hear words being pronounced! I use that feature all the time and let me tell you, it's headed off more than one fight with my husband over how a word is pronounced! ; )

Lots of your questions about membership will be answered here, plus a link to join:

And I promise I'm not getting a kickback from this non-paid public service announcement...I just thought of ACFW as I was leafing through my catalog this afternoon! : )

Thanks Deb!

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How I Write...

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Just a mini-update!

I don't have time to write a long blog. So I'm gonna do highlights ... and then you'll understand why there are not extra minutes!

1. From Wed-Sun a.m. we were at the Montana Christian Athletics Association state tournament. After watching dozens of games and cheering (loudly) our girls WON. They got first place! The boys lost two and won one ... Cory didn't get to play due to his torn ACL, but he cheered loudly.

2. Cory got nominated for the Christian Character Award! This is the second year and we were thrilled.

3. I was the "team mom" and I purchased candy for the boy's team to give to the girls team. I also bought t-shirts that the boys team decorated in our hotel room. Some even painted their faces in support of the girls! (The photo is of Cory with his friend Isaac.)

4. While on the road I heard the my sister-in-law is on COMPLETE bed rest for her pregnancy, so I volunteered to take two of her four kids. Brianna (4) is now with my other sister-in-law, but I'll have Samantha 1 1/2) for ... up to four months while Sandy is down. The boys (7 and 3) are with friends. Please pray the baby stays in and develops like he/she should ... and that Sandy can handle the bed rest and missing her kiddos.

5. I had an article to write ... that I finished today. And I need to finish the outline and first two chapters of Blue Like Playdoh by Thursday. I'm trying to get used to working with a baby around. Thank goodness for naps! (Although Samantha is super cute and tons of fun.)

Okay, gotto go make dinner.

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends. Congrats to Rowena who STOPPED LURKING last week...she left comments on my shoutlife page! Send me your book choice and mailing address!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Meet Mary Beth Whalen!

Thanks for joining me today, Mary Beth! I'm anxious to here how you do it all! You know ALL of it...balancing motherhood (and wifehood) and writing!

Interview with Mary Beth Whalen!

Marybeth, please tell me a little about yourself:

I have been married for 16 years and have six children ranging in age from teen to toddler. We have homeschooled up until this year and for the first time this year I am experiencing what it is like to have kids in school. It has been an interesting but good transition. I absolutely love to write-- and have written since I first learned to form the words. I majored in it in college and feel very blessed to be using writing to minister to others.

How do you balance being a mom, writer, AND speaker?

Hmmm, some days are better than others! I have something I call AIM-- which stands for Aware, Intentional, Methods.

1. You have to be aware of your limits, your commitments, and your situation as a whole. This means saying no to extras that don't match your priorities-- even when you feel guilty for saying it! With practice, it gets easier to say no.

2. You have to be intentional about making a plan and then working towards it. This is true of every aspect of your life-- from keeping your home to raising your kids, to making your marriage a priority above all else, to your "professional" pursuits. One of the mantras I adopted years ago was from Elizabeth Elliot-- Do the next thing. This simple phrase keeps me from feeling overwhelmed when there is a lot on my plate. I simply do the next thing, then the next, and so on. It is very freeing!

3. Determine some methods that will work for you. I have had to learn to be organized so that I don't drop too many balls. My systems/methods are very unique to me. They are solutions I have stumbled upon through trial and error. Mostly I took the suggestions of others and adapted them for my situation. Reading books on organization is helpful if this is something you struggle with. I have read my share, that is for sure! I am not naturally organized-- but my life requires it!

What insight can you offer to moms who think they have to "wait until the kids get older" to follow their dreams?

Wow-- that is a great question! I WAS that mom-- I always told myself I was being a good mom because I was waiting til "someday" to pursue my dreams. The trouble was, I realized, I got to a point where I was hiding behind "someday" because it was safe and I didn't have to step out and DO anything-- I could just wish and dream without taking any risks.

I think that moms can pursue their dreams-- more than that I think they should pursue their dreams. However, I am also very quick to say that they should not abdicate their God-given roles as wives and moms. That is where the balance comes in-- and where you have to find your sweet spot. That place will look different for everybody, as we all have such vastly different situations.

For me, my husband is a great accountability person in my life. He is not shy about telling me if he sees me going too far off the deeep end and reigning me back in! But he is also so encouraging and affirming of my dreams. So I trust him to tell me the truth and hold me accountable. We talk about everything I say yes to before I say yes-- looking at both our calendars and taking into account his work, our time limits, our church, and the kids' situations. He has been a great accountability person in that he supports me, but also tells me the truth. I would urge a mom to find that person in her life.

I also get advice from other women who have been doing this longer than me and seek to learn from their successes and mistakes. Their wisdom is valuable!

Finish this sentence, "I know it's been a good day when ...."

I spent time with the Lord, got a run in, made something yummy for dinner, the house is neat (notice I didn't say clean), the kids have been loved on and tended to, my husband and I have had a conversation where we finished at least one sentence, I got something written, and there is a great book waiting for me on my nightstand when I fall into bed exhausted! (And yes, these days do happen from time to time!)

What is the biggest challenge you face? How do you overcome it?

Right now, I would say discouragement-- letting my emotions determine my actions. When I get a rejection for something I wrote or another speaker gets chosen for an event, it is so easy to say, "I just wasn't meant to do this!" or "It's no use even trying!"

As far as overcoming it-- I have found that it's best to wait til the feelings pass without making any decisions. I have to lay down whatever situation is bothering me, and pray and ask God whether these feelings are just feelings or something He truly wants from me. Time usually helps my perspective, I have found. Usually after taking a break, I come back with fresh wind in my sails ready to charge forward again!
But it isn't easy when those times come.

In what ways does God strengthen you on your journey?

Through His word, His presence and His people. With my Abba Father, I am never alone on this journey-- and that strengthens me immensely!

Thanks so much Mary Beth...what great answers!

For more information check out Mary Beth's website!

For more information check out Mary Beth's website!

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Friday, February 15, 2008

Historical Scavenger Hunt! ***new info***

It’s a Historical Scavenger Hunt!

Playing is easy. Get the list of clues at http://www.christianreviewofbooks.com/. Then visit the links below to learn about the authors and their books—you’ll find the answers to the clues in the Q&A posted there! Once you have all 18 answers, send an email to review@ChristianReviewofBooks.com to be entered to win:

Six autographed books!

A Whisper of Freedom by Tricia Goyer
The Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen
A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman
The Sovereign’s Daughter by Susan K. Downs & Susan May Warren
The Rogue’s Redemption by Ruth Axtell Morren
On Sparrow Hill by Maureen Lang

What kind of research did you do to learn about this little-known war?

I read tons of books. I talked with historians who gave me amazing information. I even interviewed some of the veterans who are in their 90s! God gave me unexpected surprises, too. For example, out of the blue God brought an elderly man in my life who knows about the exact planes I wanted to write about. He gave me so many details and those details really brought those scenes to life. God is good!

How did you develop the idea for this series?

The idea kept growing and growing as I wrote it. The little seeds I planted in the first book blossomed into amazing things I never expected--adventure, intrigue, love. I felt as I was learning the story as I wrote it. It was exciting and fun.

At the end of your Spanish Civil War Trilogy, which of the characters had you most connected with?

Oh, do I have to pick? I'd say Sophie because she ended up in a strange land and discovering that God had more in store for her than she ever imagined. She allowed God to use her. She built friendships and discovered true friends in the process.

Visit these sites for the rest of the clues!


Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends.

Eighth annual Retailers Choice Awards nominations open

A message from Christian Retailing!

Christian retailers will soon be selecting the best books, music and other resources of the year.

Suppliers have until Feb. 29 to nominate products for the eighth annual Retailers Choice Awards sponsored by Christian Retailing magazine.

Since its launch, the Retailers Choice Awards program has been increasingly acknowledged in the Christian products industry as an important way of recognizing some of the most significant new life-changing materials available.

The 2008 program sees the addition of three new categories, in recognition of the continuing changes in Christian retailing. Prizes for the best Catholic/Liturgical, Church Supplies and Vacation Bible School products introduced last year will be presented among a total of 31 categories.

Among the other categories in which the best new releases of 2007 will be chosen are audio, Bibles, general fiction, relationships, youth/teen, accessories/apparel, wall décor and Spanish.

Christian retail store owners and staff will vote for the products they most appreciated being able to make available to customers last year based on their ability to speak to people’s hearts and emotions, to open people’s minds to new ways of thinking and to encourage and affirm Christ-like thinking.

The winners will be announced at the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando, Fla., in July.

Suppliers can nominate products for $50 each through Feb. 29. Further information is available at http://www.retailerschoiceawards.com/, or by contacting Christian Retailing Managing Editor Christine D. Johnson at 407-333-0600, ext. 2682 or at chris.johnson@strang.com

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends. Last week's winner was Susan who left a comment on my CCM page! Congrat's Susan...send your mailing address to my assistant amy@triciagoyer.com!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Attention Writers!

Carolina Christian Writers just launched their new blog at http://carolinachristianwriters.blogspot.com/

If you have a release coming out in the next six months or so, and would like to schedule a review or an interview on our blog, please contact Jennifer Hudson at jt4novels@yahoo.com.

We also plan to host interviews of agents and editors. We're in the process of planning our schedule and would love to hear from you. Also, if you are planning to be in the Carolinas, and would like to schedule a workshop or speak to our group, please contact Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Writer's Conferences 2008

I can't tell writers enough how beneficial writer's conferences are. I can say without a doubt I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't attended them. I've gone to them for fifteen years now ... that's testimony enough!

If you're interested in attending a writer's conference, here is a wealth of information. You might just find one perfect for you!

February 16, 2008. Oregon Christian Writer's One Day Winter Conference at Corban College in Salem, OR. Gail Sattler, Keynote Speaker. More info: http://oregonchristianwriters.org/members/

Feb 28-March 2, 2008. Florida Christian Writers Conference in Bradenton. Keynoters include Paul McCusker and T. Davis Bunn. Includes a special Teen Track taught by Bryan Davis. More information: http://www.flwriters.org/

March 14-15, 2008. Write His Answer Seminar. Carlisle Inn, Sugarcreek OH. More info: http://www.writehisanswer.com/Writing_Seminars.htm

March 14-18, 2008. Spring Christian Writers Conference at Mount Hermon. Debbie Macomber and Jerry B Jenkins. More info: http://www.mounthermon.org/writers/(Secular)

April 3-5, 2008. 2008 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop in Dayton, Ohio. More info: http://www.humorwriters.org/2008SpeakerBios.html

April 12, 2008. Spring Writers Day. Orange County Christian Writers, CA. Featuring Beverly Lewis, Dan Benson, Brian Bird and Chip MacGregor. More info: http://www.occwf.org/

April 17-19, 2008. Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI. Francine Rivers, Davis Bunn and many more. More info: http://www.calvin.edu/academic/engl/festival/

April 17-19, 2008. Delaware Christian Writers Conference. Newark, Delaware. More here: http://www.delawarechristianwritersconference.com/

April 19, 2008. Mini Conference, St David's Christian Writers at Emmanuel Christian Church in Stoneboro, PA. More info: http://www.stdavidswriters.com/home.html Click on "Mini-Conference".

May 2-3, 2008. Northwest Christian Writers Renewal (formerly SPU Writers Renewal). Northshore Baptist Church in Bothell, Washington. Cec Murphey will keynote. Editorial reps include Mick Silva, Waterbrook; Don Pape, Cook; and Jesse Florea, Focus on the Family magazines. More info: http://www.nwchristianwriters.org/default.asp?id=8785

May 2-3, 2008. Antelope Valley Christian Writers' Conference. Tim Riter, Keynote. More info: www.avwriters.comMay 3, 2008. Susquehanna Valley Writers Workshop at the Best Western Inn/Country Cupboard Restaurant, Lewisburg, PA. More info: http://www.marshahubler.com/workshop.html

May 14-17, 2008. Colorado Christian Writer's Conference. More info coming soon to http://www.writehisanswer.com/Colorado/

May 18-22, 2008. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Ridgecrest, NC. More information: http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/article_main_page/0%2C1703%2CA%25253D152237%252526M%25253D201125%2C00.html?

June 4-7, 1008. Write to Publish Conference. More info upcoming: http://www.writetopublish.com/

June 13-14, 2008. Dayton Christian Writer's Conference. Englewood, Ohio. More info: http://www.dougtoles.com/upcominggospelevents/

June 16-21, 2008. St David's Christian Writer's Conference. Grove City, PA. Featuring Sally Stuart, Jane Kirkpatrick, Robbie Hess and Lisa Crayton. More info: http://www.stdavidswriters.com/home.html

July 13-17, 2008. International Christian Retail Show. Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL. More info: http://www.christianretailshow.com/

August 7-9, 2008 (NOTE: tentative date).Greater Philadelphia Writer's Conference. Philadelphia Biblical University. More info to come: http://www.writehisanswer.com/philadelphia/index.html

September 8-12, 2008. Maranatha Christian Writers Conference. Muskegon, Michigan. More info: http://www.writewithpurpose.org/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

September 29-October 2, 2008. Sandy Cove Christian Writers Conference. More info: http://watkins.gospelcom.net/sandycove.htm

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What are you passionate about?

Your husband? Hopefully.
Your kids? Yes.
God. YES!

What about the stuff you do in your daily life? Can you honestly say you're following your passions?

This is a quote from Debbie Macomber's book Knit Together. If you haven't read it I highly recommend it. It's about Debbie's journey to becoming a NY Times Best-selling author. The thing I loved the most was seeing Debbie's heart for God.

“Passion shouldn’t always be equated with fun. But if what you’re doing doesn’t spur you to experience joy or a sense of accomplishment, or provoke something inside you that makes you want to keep going, it’s time to take a step back and reexamine what you’re doing and whether the purpose you’re pursuing is really the purpose God has in mind.”

If you take a step back and examine your pursuits, what do you find?

Think about the things you do day-to-day. Are there things you're doing because you didn't want to say no? Are there things you could pass off to someone else in order to pursue your passion?

I can't tell you I LOVE 100% of my moments writing. Or LOVE 100% the business part of writing. But I'm passionate about spreading God's Word through words. I love it! How about you?

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Monday, February 11, 2008

Free mystery story for Valentine's Day from Chris Well

Hey, everybody - even before I got laid off at work, I knew that 2008 was the year I needed to reinvent myself as a writer. The first real evidence of this "new Chris Well" will be revealed in a short mystery story I am offering free on Valentine's Day to subscribers to my newsletter.

Generally, the new strategy includes repairing my name as a brand; refuting those who would label my fiction exclusively for "men" (which excludes the vast majority of readers who actually buy fiction); and circumventing those who think they're somehow doing my art a favor by making my stories impossible for the public to see / find / buy.

Specifically, this story introduces our new husband-wife sleuths Tom and Darla Booke. Over time, we hope to introduce the characters into several media, including comics, audio dramas, and more.

By the way, I see that Stephen Bly is also taking the fiction right to the people.

- Chris Well

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Friday, February 8, 2008

A message from Virginia Smith

My 4th book made its official entrance to the world on Friday. (woo hoo!!!) STUCK IN THE MIDDLE is the first book in the Sister-to-Sister Series, published by Revell. The advance reviews have been good - a positive review in Publisher's Weekly (whew!), and 4 stars from Romantic Times.

To promote this book, my publisher and I are conducting an awesome contest. We're giving away a $500 shopping spree, as you've been seeing in my auto signature for a month now. :-) Entering the contest is easy. You just have to sign up to receive my bimonthly eNewsletter. Details of the contest can be found here: http://www.virginiasmith.org/contest.html

Wow...congrats Virginia! And while you're at it, don't forget to sign-up for my newsletter here!

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sisters by Rebeca Seitz

The week CFBA is touring Rebeca Seitz's first book in her scrapbook series.

About Rebeca
Seitz is Founder and President of Glass Road Public Relations. An author for several years, PRINTS CHARMING was her first novel.

Rebeca cut her publicity teeth as the first dedicated publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. In 2005, Rebeca resigned from WestBow and opened the doors of GRPR, the only publicity firm of its kind in the country dedicated solely to representing novelists writing from a Christian worldview.

Rebeca makes her home in Kentucky with her husband, Charles, and their son, Anderson.

Go here for a great interview with Rebeca on Relz Reviewz

Sisters, Ink marks the first in a series of novels written by, for, and about scrapbookers. At the center of the creativity and humor are four unlikely young adult sisters, each separately adopted during early childhood into the loving home of Marilyn and Jack Sinclair.

Ten years after their mother Marilyn has died, the multi-racial Sinclair sisters (Meg, Kendra, Tandy, and Joy) still return to her converted attic scrapping studio in the small town of Stars Hill, Tennessee, to encourage each other through life’s highs and lows.

Book one spotlights headstrong Tandy, a successful yet haunted attorney now living back in Orlando where she spent the first eight years of her life on the streets as a junkie’s kid. When a suddenly enforced leave of absence at work leads her to an extended visit with her sisters in Stars Hill, a business oppor­tunity, rekindled romance, and fresh understanding of God’s will soon follow.

Buy the book here

Check out Rebeca's website here

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

White Space

I think I've mentioned before that I teach writing to teens once a month. Do you want to guess what the #1 thing they need to work on it? Paragraphs!

My teens have the "sound" of books in their head, but they usually wrote everything in 1-2 paragraphs. One EASY tip for writers that not everyone realizes is the more white space on the page the better. Here is what Stephen King has to say about that.

"Observe the pattern--the lines of type, the margins, and most particularly the blocks of white space where paragraphs begin or leave off.

You can tell without even reading if the book you've chosen is apt to be easy or hard, right? Easy books contain lots of short paragraphs-- including dialogue paragraphs which may only be a word or two long--and lots of white space."

Stephen King, King on Writing, p. 123

Thinking about this, go back an look at your book. Is there a lot of white space? Is it easy to read? Do the paragraphs look overwhelming or friendly on the page???

Easy, right?

Powerful, yes.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Guest Blogger...Cara Putnam

I'm in that interesting spot writers sometimes find themselves in...in between contracts. I turned in my last contracted book January 15th, and spent a week revising one proposal as requested and then creating a new series proposal at another editor's request. Now I'm...waiting. Ugh. I.
Hate. That.

Let me say that again. I. Hate. Waiting.

I'm a type A personality. It didn't take my agent long to label me slightly obsessive.

It's truly ironic that two of my favorite Bible passages deal with trusting God and waiting on Him. He has a supreme sense of humor! Psalm 37:4 has been my life verse since I was 11 or 12. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Love it! But I can't ignore the verses that surround it:

Psalm 37:3-6 Trust in
the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Hmmm. Could David tell us to trust and commit our ways to Him anymore often in that passage? I say I trust God, and I really do try. But I'll be honest...times like this when everything is outside of my control are hard. There is truly nothing I can do but sit back and trust Him to have my future and my best interests in His hands. He knows which books I should write, in which order, and for which houses. Now I have to trust.

I also am tired. Frankly, I needed a few weeks to read, work on new ideas, dream a bit, and not write with a deadline marching across the calendar.
The Type A makes it very easy for me to tackle everything. I'm good at it. I can do alot. But I also need to give myself a break, let me body and mind rest. And maybe God knew I wouldn't do that without an imposed break. Yep, I think He knows me well.

So I'm also trying to take Isaiah 40 to heart:

Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
You see, I'm still very new to this field. I'm used to being in fields (law, non-profit world, teaching) where, while I couldn't control everything, there were certain things I could always do to help direct results. Do A and B is likely to occur, if not guaranteed.

Writing is nothing like that. Instead, it's a real journey of faith.

There are still things I can do. Read great fiction. Research areas that interest me. I've got World War Two ideas and horse racing ideas filling my mind because I've been reading non-fiction in those areas. I can draft proposals.

But at a certain point, all I can do is wait.

You see, I have this assurance deep inside that good things are coming. I just don't know when. And that uncertainty is hard to handle. I also don't know which of the three proposals currently out there will resonate with an editor. Making it EXTREMELY hard to know where to direct my time and energy.
So I gave myself another week "off" -- my husband would laugh as I race through books, write reviews, work on ACFW's 2008 conference, etc.

But next week, I'll pick up another legal thriller proposal that several editors are interested in. I'll invest a week in it, try to polish it up for my agent to review. And then I'll wait. Rest in Him. And trust that He has my future under control.

Cara C. Putman
Canteen Dreams -- October 2007; Sandhill Dreams -- May 2008 and Captive Dreams -- September 2008 (Heartsong Presents) Deadly Exposure -- May 2008 (LI Suspense)
Craftie Ladies of Suspense http://ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com/

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Monday, February 4, 2008


People read fiction for one thing above all else--emotion. They want to laugh, cry, get warm fuzzies, be surprised, be scared, be so scared they pee their pants! The problem is that too many times writers don't DELVE into their emotions. They say, "Clark was angry." or "Clara was excited." Well, so what? Those are just words. We can't FEEL it.

When it comes to emotions it's best to SHOW. It's also best to sometimes be over the top. If it's too much (which rarely happens) you can scale back.

It's also important to be creative. Help us to view these emotions in a new way. Here is an example from Anne Lamott.

"God, it was painful though, too, and the hangover was debilitating. I was deeply aware of the worm inside of me and of the grim bits that I feed it. The secret envy inside me is maybe the worst thing about my life. I am the Saddam Hussein of jealousy."

~Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions

That's less than 50 words, and even though this is non-fiction we can FEEL it. We can relate. We can understand.

So take time to go through your book. Highlight the emotions. Are you just telling? Delete that and rewrite it so we can FEEL it. Is it cliché? Think of a way to come up with something unique. Your reader will love you for it.

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends

Friday, February 1, 2008

Writing takes discipline.

I have to sit down and work. I have to make goals. I have to meet goals.

I've also found out that the more discipline I have in life the better my writing goes.

I learned that when I have the discipline to eat right and exercise I sleep better, wake up with energy, and I can get more done. If I don't eat right, I feel sluggish and I need naps ... lots of them. I got a recumbent bike that allows me to exercise and read at the same time. Perfect!

Of course, discipline/joy that helps me the most is having daily quiet time. When I take time to read, pray, praise, journal my heart is on-fire and my mind is ready to work.

Over the last 8 months or so I've been disciplined in using the calendar in Outlook. I schedule everything: Bible reading, exercise, writing time, interviews, making dinner, phone meetings--everything. It also helps me as I fill in my to-do list. When I put everything into their own slots I get a realistic look at what I can accomplish--instead of being disappointed at the end of the day because I didn't accomplish as much as I hoped. Also, if another "to-do" comes to mind, I plug it in. Sometimes I schedule it days, weeks, or even months out. I've discovered that when I do this I don't have to worry about that "to-do" anymore because I know I have a plan and it will get done. It also feels good to check things off!

I also make church service a priority. Not service, the noun, but service the verb. My husband and I volunteer in children's church every week and every Wednesday I'm part of a small group study. It helps me to interact and give and serve. We also have a couples' small group every Monday night in our home. The six other couples are our best friends, and it's a great time. It is good to connect with real people!

Of course, being disciplined is HARD WORK. It's easy to make plans, but it's harder to follow through. My eating was good today. My exercise was not. I didn't have quiet time, because I had to take my grandma to the doctor. Some days are better than others, but it's a good reminder that this is a process. We are on pilgrimage, and I trust when I'm working at it day after day, then I will grow closer to God as I disciple myself and as I seek His strength in all these areas.

Stop Lurking! Every week I will draw names for a free Tricia Goyer book from those who comment on my blogs. Winner's choice! Tell your friends