Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dare to Dream—Part 2

Part 1

DISCOVER – What Are God’s Dreams?
Dare to Dream—Part 2

“. . . God gives his children tasks to complete. Even in Eden he assigned the first man and woman the job of tending a garden,” says Judith Couchman in her book, Designing a Woman’s Life. “But understanding our significance before we attempt accomplishment anchors the soul in an order uncommon to this world,” says Couchman. “First, we embrace our innate worth, then we pursue our unique purpose. After this, we tackle our work.” [i]

Many of us have reversed this process. We decide our own path, quickly follow the flow of life, then we wonder why we feel insignificant. We despair when we look back at our day and realize that though we jumped through all the necessary hoops, we shared no piece of ourselves or our originality.

The easiest way to tell if we are missing our unique purpose is to consider the things that bring joy to our lives. Things that are uniquely us. It may be singing, baking, or even landscaping. Many of us need to ask, “If I could be doing anything for God’s kingdom what would it be?” and “Do I ‘thrive’ in my daily duties and feel God’s pleasure, or do I simply ‘survive’ as I try to keep up with the world’s ideas?”

The answers may surprise you, and they also may stir your heart toward God’s true desires for your life.

[i] --Judith Couchman, Designing a Woman’s Life, pg. 14-15, 1995

Friday, September 26, 2008

Dare to Dream—Part 1

What dreams are hidden in your heart? I dare you to find out . . .
Dare to Dream—Part 1

I imagine my face must glow when I talk about my latest writing projects. Looking back, I often wonder what took me so long to realize I wanted to become a writer. I’ve always loved reading and creating stories in my mind. During my childhood summers when my friends were at the lake, I spent my time in the library. That should have been my first clue. Looking back now, I can clearly see hints of the dreams God placed deep inside me.

It wasn't until I was married with three small children scurrying around my feet that I realized God created me with specific talents. (Talents that play a part in His purpose for my life.) But the contentment I feel when I use my talents and follow my dreams is uncommon in many people today, including some of my closest friends.

One afternoon I saw a wistful look in my friend, Stacey’s, eyes as she squeezed a few minutes out of her busy day to talk with me over a glass of tea. “I wish I had something of my own,” this mother of three small boys confessed. “Some type of special purpose that I knew was from God.”

As Stacey spoke, I squinted and looked closely. I’m sure that behind her baby food stained T-shirt I saw something. Yes, she did have something of her own. Stacey’s heart was filled with dreams lying dormant, waiting to be awakened.

Sometimes we, like Stacey, don’t even know our dreams are there. We feel incomplete but don’t understand why. Other times the fulfillment of our dreams is stunted by outside factors—not enough time, not enough energy, and too many duties filling up our days.

But most of all we just need permission. Permission to slow down. Permission to discover our deepest purpose. And permission to follow those dreams.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Advice for Novelists (Part 46)

C.J. Darlington, co-founder of TitleTrakk, is running a great series on her blog: She started a series of blog posts in which industry professionals (editors, agents, publicists, authors, etc.) share their responses to this question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Today the talented Robin Shope shares her response:My advice is simple; know your audience and genre. If you are like me, you enjoy various types of music, and your reading tastes run the gamut from fiction to nonfiction to children’s books. Many new writers, including myself, started out writing anything and everything . . . that is not so bad, and quite energetic for an aspiring author. But when we become serious about being published then writing takes on a whole new meaning. Pick one genre that you feel most passionate about and learn it.

That means read that genre. Study it as though you are preparing for a college exam. Take notes on how the characters are developed, when the problem occurs, how a hook is used, what about the story keeps you right on turning the pages. Better still, write down what you don’t like. Writing takes work. Writer Loops are filled with the same type of questions from aspiring authors all asking the same basic questions such as I am writing a book for young adults. Can anyone suggest a good author for me to read? I shiver when I read that and not in a good way. Their shelves should already be filled with the likes of Jean Craighead George and Cynthia Rylant.

Read the rest here

--Robin Shope, author of The Candidate (with Susan Wales), Wildcard, and more. Visit her online at her blog and Shoutlife pages:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In case you hadn't yet heard...

The ACFW winners are...

Debut Author
1. Sushi for One? (Camy Tang) Zondervan, Sue Brower
2. Bayou Justice (Robin Miller writing as Robin Caroll)
3. In Between (Jenny B. Jones)

Contemporary Novella
1. Finally Home (Deborah Raney) Barbour Publishing, Susan Downs
2. Moonlight & Mistletoe (Carrie Turansky)
3. Remaking of Moe McKenna (Gloria Clover)

Historical Novella
1. Love Notes in Love Letters Anthology (Mary Davis) Barbour Publishing, Rebecca Germany
2. Beyond the Memories (DiAnn Mills)
3. The Spinster & The Tycoon (Vickie McDonough)

1. Splitting Harriet (Tamara Leigh) Multnomah Books, Julee Schwarzburg
2. Sushi for One? (Camy Tang)
3. One Little Secret (Allison Bottke) & The Book of Jane (Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt)

Long Contemporary
1. Within This Circle (Deborah Raney) Steeple Hill Books, Krista Stroever
2. Like Always (Robert Elmer)
3. Autumn Blue (Karen Harter)

Long Historical
1. Veil of Fire (Marlo Schalesky) RiverOak, editors Jeff Dunn/Jon Woodhams
Where Willows Grow (Kim Vogel Sawyer) Bethany House, editor Charlene Patterson
2. Fancy Pants (Cathy Marie Hake) & Then Came Hope (Louise Gouge)
3. Courting Trouble (Deeanne Gist)

1. Your Chariot Awaits (Lorena McCourtney) Thomas Nelson, Amanda Bostic
2. Death of a Garage Sale Newbie (Sharon Dunn)
3. Sticks And Stones (Susan Meissner)

Short Contemporary
1. The Heart of Grace (Linda Goodnight) Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Allison Lyons
2. Heart of the Family (Margaret Daley)
3. Wedded Bliss (Kathleen Y’Barbo)

Short Contemporary Suspense
1. Caught Redhanded (Gayle Roper) Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense, Krista Stroever
2. Pursuit of Justice (Pamela Tracy)
3. Nowhere to Hide (Debby Giusti) & Her Christmas Protector (Terri Reed)

Short Historical
1. Canteen Dreams (Cara Putman) & Golden Days (Mary Connealy)Barbour/Heartsong Presents, JoAnne Simmons
2. A Wealth Beyond Riches (Vickie McDonough)
3. A Time to Keep (Kelly Eileen Hake)

1. The Restorer’s Son (Sharon Hinck) NavPress, Reagan Reed
2. Demon: A Memoir (Tosca Lee)
3. DragonFire (Donita Paul)

1. Black Ice (Linda Hall) WaterBrook Press, Traci DePree
2. Coral Moon (Brandilyn Collins)
3. Abomination (Colleen Coble)

Women’s Fiction
1. Remember to Forget (Deborah Raney) Howard Books/Simon & Schuster, Philis Boultinghouse
2. Watercolored Pearls (Stacy Hawkins Adams)
3. A Promise To Remember (Kathryn Cushman)

Young Adult
1. In Between (Jenny B. Jones) NavPress, Jamie Chavez
2. Sara Jane: Liberty’s Torch (Eleanor Clark)
3. Saving Sailor (Renee Riva)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How often should you publish?

This is an excellent article from Seth Godin's blog!

How often should you publish?

How many movies should you star in next year?

How many records should you release? How many songs should you write?
How many times a week should you post to your blog?

And when should my next book come out? Or your next newsletter or that next cartoon? What about Nike--they launch more than one product every day. Is that too many?

A lot of the stuff marketers make is unanticipated, impersonal, irrelevant junk that consumers merely tolerate.

But some of it is not spam, it's content. Stuff worth reading, worth paying for (at the very least, worth paying attention to.)

So, how often?

This discussion is usually filled with superstitions, traditions and half-truths. Daily comics come out every day because that's when newspapers always came out. And newspapers came out once a day because it was too expensive to publish three times a day (and advertisers and readers wouldn't support the extra expense.)

When movies were met with great fanfare and often stayed in the theaters for months, it was suicide for a big movie star to do three or four movies a year. But in a DVD/YouTube world, there's not a lot of evidence that this pace makes as much sense. Saturday Night Live was on every week because there's only one Saturday a week, but if it had launched today, it's hard to see the benefit of it being a weekly...

I'd like to propose that you think about it differently. There's frontlist and backlist.

Frontlist means the new releases, the hits, the stuff that fanboys are looking for or paying attention to.

Frontlist gets all the attention, all the glory and all the excitement. They write about frontlist in the paper and we talk about the frontlist at dinner. Digg is the frontlist. Siskel and Ebert is the frontlist.

Backlist is Catcher in the Rye or 1984. Backlist is the long tail (the idea) and now, the Long Tail (the book). In a digital world, backlist is where the rest of the attention ends up, and where all the real money is made.

Backlist doesn't show up in the news, but Google is 95% backlist. So is Amazon.

Sitting in a meeting yesterday, I brainstormed a term, "haystack marketing." I googled it to see if someone else was using it. You guessed it--number one match was an article I wrote eight months ago. Google doesn't forget even if you do.

So, here's the strategy:
Assemble a tribe, a group of true fans, followers, people who have given you permission. Give them all the frontlist they can handle. Make it easy for them to spread the word, to Digg you or bring a friend to your movie or buy your new book for their friends. If you create too much content for this crowd, then you're publishing too much. They care, and they want to hear from you.

Promote your backlist. Invest significant time and money to make your backlist available, to recirculate it, to have it adopted as a textbook in English class or featured on Netflix or part of a retrospective on TV. Take all that money you waste in frontlist marketing and spend it on the backlist instead.

Repeat. Frontlist becomes backlist, backlist grows, fan base grows, it scales.
Frontlist reaches your fans. Your fans spread the word, and eventually your backlist reaches everyone else. The backlist turns some people into fans, who then look for the frontlist.

The bestselling fiction authors (with one exception) all got hassled by their publishers for writing too often. Erle Stanley Gardner, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, JK Rowling... all but one had to write under a pseudonym because their publishers said they wrote too much. Nonsense. They wrote for their tribe, they give their followers just barely enough to read. Not too much, not by a long shot. And then, they were lucky enough to have persistent and talented publishers that managed to get their backlist read, over and over, by millions of people. People who turned into fans.

Key assertion: you don't publish it unless it's good. You don't write more blog posts than you can support, don't ship more variations of that software than your engineers can make marvelous. But given that you've got enough bench strength, enough remarkability to spare, now what?

When I look at my work, I think I'm in sync with my readers--one blog post a day feels right, while ten (which some bloggers pull off) wouldn't work for us. One book a year feels right, while three a decade (which Malcolm Gladwell does) wouldn't work for me or my core readers.

On the other hand, I do a lousy job of self-marketing my backlist. I have no doubt that a more patient push of The Dip would have doubled the numbers of books I sold (but posting about quitting all the time would have annoyed you guys to no end). It's still selling well, but given the base of sales (a big frontlist launch can lead to even bigger backlist, of course), more focus on the backlist would have been a profitable choice. The thing is, organizations can do this far better than an individual author can.

[Example: In the last month, four of my books have been mentioned in the NY Times. (The Dip, All Marketers are Liars, Meatball Sundae and Small is the New Big.) All backlist. All to people not in our tribe. This is far more useful and surprisingly, predictable, than the hit or miss nature of frontlist promotion. In my case, I think I'm putting my skills to better use when I'm writing, but that means I need to figure out how my backlist is going to get noticed. If you've got a team, part of the team should obsess about the backlist, honing it, editing it and promoting it, while the rest work to generate (as opposed to promote) the frontlist.]

The opportunity isn't to give into temptation and figure out how to recklessly and expensively market the frontlist. It is to adopt a long and slow and ultimately profitable strategy of marketing your ever-growing backlist.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Where The Map Ends

A website you don't want to miss: www.WhereTheMapEnds.com

My favorite tool is the Tip of the Week:

Here is a sample of the topics for tips 1-10 ... and there are 90 more in addition to that!

Tips 1-10
Master Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
Beware Monster Paragraphs
Description, Part 4—Comparisons
Description, Part 3—The Full Sensory Sweep
Description, Part 2—The Establishing Shot
Description, Part 1—Introduction
What Does Your Hero Want?
Your Hero's Inner Journey
Proper Manuscript Formatting
An (Accepting) Audience of One

Check it out here

AND be sure to check out Jeff's Marcher Lord Press, his indie publishing company that goes live on October 1!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hired Help!

I wanted to point you to a great resource. The Christian Author's Network Marketing Blog. There are DAILY blogs on marketing for authors. The link is here: http://canblog.typepad.com/canbookmarketing

You can read my contributions by clicking here:

One of the things I blogged about was hiring an assistant to help with marketing, which is what I've done. You can read that here:

After much prayer and consideration, John and I decided that it is more beneficial for me to WRITE than to spend time on marketing. Because I LOVE marketing, my answer was finding someone to help me. I found a friend from church, and she's been so helpful to me! Amy organizes my contest, blog tours, mailings, postcards, and she even posts my blogs. (I write them and then send them to her.) Then I focus my time on writing MORE articles and books. It works for me!

But in addition to creating more space for me to write, Amy does a better job of promoting my books to others than I do. She's not shy about letting others know about me and what I write ... or shy about asking others to help promote me.

Of course John and I dedicated a large part of my writing income to hire an almost full-time assistant, but maybe just hiring someone a few hours a week might be helpful for you. At first it was hard for me to "turn over" some of these things, but I'm so glad I did. In fact it helped me to step back and reevaluate other areas of my life, diving them into two things: 1) Things only I can do, and 2) Things I can get help to do. There are things only I can do: connect personally with God, be the wife and mom, and write these books. All the rest is negotiable :-)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Advice for Novelists (Part 45)

C.J. Darlington, co-founder of TitleTrakk, is running a great series on her blog: She started a series of blog posts in which industry professionals (editors, agents, publicists, authors, etc.) share their responses to this question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Today Wanda Brunstetter's is short and to the point, but no less meaningful: If writing is your passion, don’t ever give up on your dream. Keep writing, submitting, and honing your skills.

--Wanda Brunstetter, multi-published author, most recently of the Sisters of Holmes Count series. Visit her online at her website here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Writing Humorous Creative Nonfiction...

for Focus on Your Child Parenting Publications

This has great info! Be sure to follow the link at the bottom to read the rest!

I am an editor, and there’s nothing funny about it, especially when I’m tasked to purchase humor articles. Finding light-hearted narratives is difficult.

If I’m told to acquire a humor article for each issue, I stress. When I’m asked to find four humor articles in a month, I panic. Add the fact that manuscripts also have to be based on the actions of children and include a parenting tip . . . and walking on the moon by Friday sounds like an easier feat.

Some comedic authors understand how to use the element of surprise. Others can embellish their stories or exaggerate the situation. Still others allow their audience to laugh at the narrator’s mistakes. What few understand is how to combine humor and an underlying theme.
The humorous, parenting articles that I purchase must be focused on an individual child, have entertainment value and include a parenting tip. The humor is derived from the situation. Therefore, I have dubbed this format a Situational Humor Article with Parenting Insights, SHAPI for short.

1. Find a humorous situation
A SHAPI starts with a humorous situation that includes a parenting moment. The audience receives a peek into another person’s family and reads about something that is unique but familiar. It must be true and can be written in first or third person, depending on whether it’s about your life or someone else’s (if about someone else’s, you will need to provide documented proof that you have permission to write about their life experience).

Let’s take a look at an example. In the Aug./Sept. 2007 issue of Teen Phases (for parents of 13- to 18-year-olds), Letitia Suk found an interesting situation. In her and her husband’s effort to promote family dating, she prepared a large dinner and invited her daughter’s friend to eat with the family. When he didn’t show up, they ate dinner without him. As soon as the dishes were put away, the phone rang—he overslept . . . can he still come over? The daughter begged her family to let him—and eat dinner again. To help her, they did. They re-set the table, put out the leftover food and sat down to another meal.

The humor is situational, and the article is believable. Parents laugh not only at what happened in this family but also at themselves—the times they have done similar things for their teens.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How to Improve on a Blank Page

One of the most common questions I get from aspiring writers is “How do I start?” The ideas are in their heads, but the problem is getting them on paper.

Whether you are writing magazine articles, story stories, novels, or even homework assignments—here are some tips for improving on the blank page.

1) Sift Through Your Ideas. Realize some ideas will remain just that . . . ideas. When I first began writing in 1994 I wanted to use everything—every cute thing my children did, every Scripture verse that stirred my heart, and every flash of inspiration. I soon realized that although my ideas were good ones, I didn’t have enough time in the day to use them all. So what did I do instead? I began keeping a journal. It’s just for me, and I don’t worry how it looks. I use regular, spiral-bound notebooks, and I have them on hand to write down my prayers, favorite Scripture verse, to-do lists (I always start these on a clean page in case I need to tear them out), and writing ideas. Sometimes the words stay in there as just ideas. Other times I’ll go back to them, ponder them, and jot down more notes. Then, if I can’t shake it, I know it’s time to take a closer look, and I ask these questions:

~~Is this something God wants me to write?

~~Who is my target audience?

~~What are the needs of this audience?

~~What would be the best format for my message?

As much as we don’t like to think of “publication” in these early stages, this is an important step. To be effective as writers, we need to mold our message into a medium that will reach people. Many times I think of two or three different venues such as how-two articles, personal experience articles, or books.

The next step is to prayerfully consider where God wants me to share my message. And when. I still have ideas that God gave me years ago that I hope to use some day. Some, perhaps will “come to life” after a long hibernation. Others may not, and instead they may just be message that God speaks to my own heart.

2) Open the Page and Start Writing. Once you know that you want to write—or have to write—the next step is to begin. Yes, that means opening a blank page and just starting. Once I start typing I’m often surprised how much is already in my head. I refer to this first step as “cleaning the pipes,” and I pour everything in my head and heart onto the page. For articles or non-fiction these might be paragraphs of writing mixed in with various ideas. For fiction, it may be character description, story ideas, research notes, or any combination of the above.

Most people want “perfect writing” from the moment they start typing. This just doesn’t happen. Instead of striving for perfection, give yourself the freedom to “play around with the words.” Your first draft will NOT make it to publication. You don’t need it perfect when you begin. Don’t think about grammar, about your theme, about crafting perfect sentences. Instead, just let the ideas take you where they will.

3) Write Fast. Once you allow yourself to start writing, keeping going and don’t stop! I find my best writing comes when I let the ideas flow. I don’t stop to read what I’ve just written. I don’t pause to think. I don’t worry what an editor would think about my grammar. I just let the thoughts continue on uninterrupted. The funny thing is . . . this fast writing usually ends up as my best stuff!

After you get all your thoughts on paper. Close your document and give yourself a break. Refuse to go back and read what you just read . . . instead carry around your notebook or journal and write down any ideas that you can add to your work-in-progress. Think of this as a pot of soup simmering on the stove and add in whatever ideas come to you during the day.

I get ideas when I’m in the shower, while I’m driving, or when I’m cooking dinner. The ideas will do their own work in your head. Just make sure you’re ready to jot down further thoughts. (This also means keeping a notebook and pencil beside your bed!)

Ideas from other writers:

Tamela Hancock Murray

I write from start to finish myself, but here are some techniques I've seen offered by other writers: 1) Write down the theme of her book. What is your overarching message? Then go from there. 2) Write the climatic scene and go backward from there. 3) Another way is to begin with the characters themselves, then work on putting them in the situation that will be your story.

Rachel Hauck

Start with a good synopsis, character sketch, backstory and timeline. Maybe start with a setting description. Begin by getting to know you setting and characters.

Pamela Hatheway

Natalie Goldberg wrote a book called Thunder and Lightning about “writing practice.” She suggested doing timed writing practice on a variety of subjects. For example: write fifteen minutes about school lunches, twenty minutes describing your first kiss, or ten minutes describing the way your grandmother's kitchen smelled.

Personally, I have a book where I write a verse of Scripture at the top of the page and write about it for 15-30 minutes. I allow myself to go whereever I feel like going with the thought. I am surprised sometimes at what comes out.

I suppose it is journaling of sorts . . . but more than that, because there are some real gems that may actually become an article.

Nikki Arana

I found a book that really helped me called Beginnings, Middles and Ends. It helped because it made me think of my book in three parts. I could do that. I could think of the beginning of my story, and then began to lay it out. Just the beginning. And of course, before long a middle started to emerge.

Eva Marie

My “getting started” typically comes from a single line. That opening hook line just comes to me out of nowhere. I have an “idea” in my mind for plot and character . . . but wait on the first line. That's how it works for me.

Looking for a market to write for? Interested in writing for a Christian magazine? Check out the theme list for Lookout Magazine. They might just have a topic that's perfect for you to write!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sweet September blog tour...and CONTEST!

Catch the buzz at these awesome blogs! Many of the bloggers have copies of Sweet September to give-away! (hint, hint!)

Make sure to check out the fun contest below!

Harvest time at Heather Creek Farm is an exciting time, but the kids don't seem to be getting into the spirit. One day while he's wandering through the fields, Christopher stumbles across an old piece of metal buried in the ground. He doesn't know what it is, but he hides it in the shed.

That night, the garden by the house is uprooted. Who could have done such a thing? Charlotte is determined to find out, but is distracted when she gets news that Sam is failing school. The sullen teen is indifferent and won't study. He starts spending a lot of time with Pete. Though she loves her son dearly, Pete never finished high school, and Charlotte is afraid he'll encourage Sam to do the same. How can she help him get back on track?

A gripping story that examines the Stevenson family's history as well as its shaky future, Sweet September will bring you deeper into the loving community of Bedford and the deep ties of love that bind this broken family together. As they forge new connections, you'll be entertained, inspired, and reminded that God's grace can make all things new.


Since Sweet September is all about family, Tricia wants to meet yours.

Leave a comment on this post sharing who your favorite family member is (think beyond hubby and kids) and why.

You'll be entered into a drawing to win William-Sonoma’s Pumpkin Harvest Loaf Pan & Quick Bread Set.


Go here to enter and CATCH THE BUZZ!

Friday, September 12, 2008

My agent...sigh!

My agent has to be the wisest, kindest, bestest . Check out this article she wrote:

“Discerning Literature”

I’m about as ancient as dirt in Christian-agent time (of course, that would never be said of me in real time). I’ve been an agent for twelve years, which in the Christian realm means I came to this game early on. I decided to pursue being an agent after Focus on the Family divorced me. . . . Okay, really, we parted company because Focus was moving to Colorado Springs from Southern California, and that was a move I didn’t want to make.

When you find yourself standing at professional crossroads, you examine what your strengths and weaknesses are. As I thought about mine, I realized that, as an editor at Focus on the Family and Zondervan before that, what gave me the greatest joy was discovering writing voices others didn’t know about. I had heard Patsy Clairmont on a Focus on the Family broadcast and laughed my head off—and heard a speaker who carefully chose every word that came from her mouth. A natural-born writer if ever I heard one. But Patsy had never gathered the confidence to tap out a book. We teamed up and—voila!—God Uses Cracked Pots, her first book, was born. Robin Jones Gunn’s Christy Miller Series was lurking in my slush pile just waiting to be unleashed on teen readers.

As I assessed my publishing experience and my inclinations, I realized this new-to-Christian publishing venue of agenting might be the right gig for me. And so it has been. I founded Books & Such Literary Agency that year, and since then I have had the privilege of representing such stellar authors as Joanna Weaver, author of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, which has sold 500,000 copies and has remained on the Top 100 Sellers List for six years; W. Dale Cramer, who has won two Christy Awards for his contemporary novels and received several starred reviews from Publishers Weekly for his fine writing; RITA and Holt Medallion winner Gayle Roper . . . the list goes on.

Read the rest here!

I am blessed to be represented by her. I signed with Janet in 1997. I was an unpublished wannabe. Eleven years and fifteen books later I'd say we make a great team!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Unpublished Christian fiction writers, get your manuscripts ready. Zondervan, a world leader inChristian communications, today announced All About the Story, a writing competition for first-time novelists. The winner will receive a $10,000 publishing contract with Zondervan, and all finalists will have their works recognized during the Christian Book EXPO in Dallas in March 2009.

Sponsored by Zondervan and Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, All About the Story is open to any unpublished writer who has attended a past Mount Hermon Writer's conference or who is registered for the 2009 conference. In addition to the opportunity for their work to be published by Zondervan, the winning author will also receive valuable feedback from editors and experienced judges, including bestselling Christian fiction authors Karen Kingsbury, Terri Blackstock, Brandilyn Collins and Noel Hynd."We know there are many talented Christian fiction writers who just need an opportunity like this to get the break they need to become a published author," said Dudley Delffs, vice president and publisher of Trade Books at Zondervan. "We are pleased to partner with Mount Hermon to uncover top writing talent just waiting to be discovered.

"The All About the Story contest will be judged in three stages:

Synopsis and the first 5,000 words of work will be judged to determinesemi-finalists.

Semi-finalists will submit a full manuscript to be judged by Zondervan editors to determine finalists.

The winner will be determined by a panel of bestselling authors.

The grand prize winner will receive a publishing contract with Zondervan including a $10,000 advance on royalties. Finalists will berecognized at the Christian Book EXPO in Dallas, Texas, March 20-22,2009. The winner will be announced at the 2009 Mount Hermon Writer's Conference on Saturday, April 4, 2009.

All first-round entries must be received before November 5th, 2008. For additional information, and contest rules, visitwww.zondervan.com/fiction or email firstnovelcompetition@Zondervan.com.

About Mount Hermon
Founded in 1906, Mount Hermon was the first Christian camp west of theMississippi. From its inception, Mount Hermon has been both interdenominational and evangelical. For 102 years Mount Hermon has consistently proclaimed Jesus as Lord and Savior, by teaching the authoritative Word of God and serving churches and other Christian ministries both here and around the world.

About Zondervan
Zondervan, a Harper Collins company, is the world leader in Christian communications and the leading Christian publishing brand. For morethan 75 years, Zondervan has delivered transformational Christian experiences by influential authors and emerging voices, and has been honored with more Christian Book Awards than any other publisher.

Zondervan is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., with offices in San Diego, Miami and London. Its resources are sold worldwide and are translated into nearly 200 languages in more than 60 countries. Visit Zondervan online at www.zondervan.com.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Working to eliminate teen pregnancy!

I don't normally talk about this subject here, but many of you responded to my last post on Sarah Palin so I thought you might be interested in this as well.

What's the buzz echoing over the airwaves? The media attention over the fact that Bristol Palin, daughter of Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin is pregnant at 17-years-old.

With the buzz, two questions are on our minds. If a teen finds herself pregnant are the parents to blame? Or should we point our fingers at the teen’s own bad choices?

We ask because the issue hits home. If someone like, Governor Sarah Palin, who has her act together well enough to be on the Republican ticket is facing her daughter’s teen pregnancy, what hope is there for the rest of us?

If you don’t want your daughter to be one of the one million teen girls who find themselves pregnant every year, consider this:

1. Be a Role Model. Our kids often follow where we lead. Consider your life. Are you living with integrity? Are you only having sex within the bounds of marriage? The saying, “Do what I say not what I do” never works.

2. Talk about what love is. Love is not sex. Going “all the way” with someone doesn’t prove your love. (No matter what they show on television.) True love is shown through life-long commitment and by valuing the other person. Remind teens that they are the one responsible for setting sexual limits on a relationship. Remind young women, “Sex won't make him yours. A baby won't make him stay.”

3. Remind kids it CAN happen to them. Having sex, even so called "protected" sex, can lead to pregnancy. It can happen even to kids from a good family. The only way to 100% prevent pregnancy is to not have sex.

4. Emphasize that even “good girls” get pregnant. Having a good report card, being a good person, having an important parent, or being conscientious will not protect you from pregnancy. According to teenpregnancy.org, 1 in 3 young women get pregnant at least once before they turn 20--good girls included.

5. Let your daughter know that most teens wished they had waited. Sex before marriage can not only lead to pregnancy, but there are other health concerns, such as STDs. There is also emotional baggage. According to teenpregnancy.org, 60% of teens “wished they had waited longer” to have sex.

6. Encourage your teen to plan her actions BEFORE the situation arises. Talk about set boundaries and not putting herself in situations that will cause her to compromise those decisions. Help her make good plans for her future and stick to goals.

7. Talk about media’s wrong messages. The media (television, radio, movies, music videos, magazines, the Internet) are chock full of material sending the wrong messages. Just because we see everyone in Hollywood having sex and having babies, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Babies are a responsibility, not a fashion accessory.

8. Encourage secondary purity. Teens can say “no” even if they’ve said "yes" before. Today your daughter can make the right choice and choose abstinence.

9. Realize parents can only do so much … but make sure it’s done! As a parent, you cannot be around your child 24/7. Yet, we can do our best to prepare our daughters. Don’t wait.

10. Let you kids know you are available to talk about every issue in life. It's also important for parents to open up a two way conversation, not a one-way lecture. Parents can do this by turning the above topics into questions such as: What are your boundaries? Do you think sex proves you love someone? What do you think of the messages media gives out?

Let your voice be heard...
Does the fact that vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's unwed teenage daughter is pregnant alter your opinion of her as a White House hopeful?
Answer here

Need help talking to your teens? My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson) is a book for teen girls, encouraging them to script their lives instead of being caught up in the drama and emotions of the moment.

A former teen mom, Tricia Goyer is also the author of Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


New Contest...Request-A-Book and Win a gift card to CBD!

Want to help me out? I'd love to get my books into more libraries--YOURS!

To participate in Request-A-Book all you have to do is check out your local library (you can probably do it on-line even) and see if they carry any Tricia Goyer books. If they don't, simply fill out your libraries Request A Book form or give the request to your librarian. And, if they only have a few Tricia Goyer titles, then request one or two they don't carry.

When you're done, send me a little note via my contact page on my website (here) to let me know.

I'll enter your name into a drawing for a $25 gift card to CBD!Fun. Easy.

You can find a list of my books and ISBNs here.The contest ends 10/15/08! Winners will be announced in the next newsletter and on my blog!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fiction Intensive Weekend

I wanted to share this wonderful opportunity for those of you interested in talking your novel or short story to the next level!

Cindy and I started "writing" together in 1994. And look what God has done!

Hello from Cindy (Martinusen) Coloma ,

In just a few weeks, I'll be hosting a Fiction Intensive Weekend in Redding, CA for writers working on a novel, novella, or long short-story. If you know anyone seeking guidance on a fiction project, this is an excellent opportunity! It's a weekend to focus on one project with professional one-on-one input, great workshops (some hands-on), group critiques, a beautiful environment, and energizing time with other writers (not to mention the food and our Saturday evening outing). It's a complete weekend of words, writing and writers!

We have room for several more attendees, and there are different places to stay at if the Bridge House is full (there's 1 room left). Here's where we'll dive into our fiction: http://www.reddingbridgehouse.com/

We hope to make this an annual event and to see aspiring writers gain excellent direction, insights and career planning to help them become successful and well-written pros.

From Friday to Sunday afternoons, we provide you with guidance, workshops, escape and time to focus on your fiction project. In our intimate, hands-on workshops, afternoon writing time, and nighttime gatherings, this weekend will mold your work and you as a writer for years to come. And we’ll have a lot of fun as well!
What will we do together? We’ll:
· Provide small group settings for individual attention
· Critique, work hard, bask in the writing environment
· Have guest published authors to guide and inspire
· Develop the elements of fiction in your work
· Evaluate your writing strengths and weaknesses
· Guide your writing goals and passions
· Give you the specific help you want and need
· Provide the rare opportunity to focus solely on your novel!

Contacts can be made directly to me. Thank you!

Cindy (Martinusen) Coloma

Friday, September 5, 2008

Palin is a GenXer!

In case you didn't realize it ... Sarah Palin is a Gen Xer. I bet if we could sit down with her we could rehash 80s trivia. We could talk about the first time we saw Michael Jackson's Thriller video. Where we were in Challenger blew up. What Madonna fashion accessory was our fav. (For me it was the permed hair and lacy gloves.)

As I listen to Sarah Palin talk, and I can HEAR her Gen X-ness. And, the amazing thing is that the world is going crazy about it. They love that she's real. That she's a soccer mom. And realizing this I feel our generation is finally getting a pat on the back.

Listening to Palin's speeches and hearing more about her, I see glimpses of what I wrote in my book Gen X Parenting (Multnomah 2006):

"If your were born between 1961 and 1981, maybe you can relate. We're called Generation X, and to me the X stands for:

eX-cellent people, eX-celling to our potential, and eX-hausted most of the time!

We want to do it all, be it all, and parent as well as possible. And according to the experts who study society, the two words that describe our beliefs are authentic and relationships. We don't want anyone to put on a show for us. We want the real deal. And, of our, what matters most to us is people."

Palin is building a relationship with the PEOPLE of this country. You can hear it in her passion and her speeches. To quote Palin, "I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country.”

Can you see it? Authentic relationships OOZE from that one phrase.

As you also know, there is a HUGE Mommy Wars thing going on in the media. And I have an opinion of my own.

As a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling mom, and author of 15 books (all published since 2003) I think my hard work has taught my kids they can dream, I'm a living example to my children that God has called us all to do great things, and if we seek Him and work according to His lead, God can bring our dreams to reality. My kids are smart and motivated. They have big plans for their future. Sure, I travel and there are times I need to go away to work, but we have great family times, too. I think Palin's work as VP (if it happens) is going to be a great example for her children to follow.

Also, as a former teen mom (I had Cory at age 17), I think Palin will a great role model for her daughter. Life doesn't have to end with teen pregnancy. I'm an example of that! Yes, Bristol Palin may have made mistakes, but haven't we all? I believe if she turns to God during this time He can use her mightily. Don't you agree?

If you are interested in reading more about Gen Xers in marriage go to:

And Gen Xers as parents:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Advice for Novelists (Part 44)

C.J. Darlington, co-founder of TitleTrakk, is running a great series on her blog: She started a series of blog posts in which industry professionals (editors, agents, publicists, authors, etc.) share their responses to this question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Don Otis: Take your time and do your research. From my perspective, the best fiction weaves facts, history and a sense of place with a terrific storyline and characters.

As a publicist and nonfiction author, I have to approach this question from the standpoint of marketing. You have to look at fiction publicity the same way you do nonfiction. The broadcast media is primarily information and issues-driven. This means promotion requires a credible angle. Most interviewers are not interested in discussing your characters or plot; they want to know how your writing relates to the real world and what qualifies you to talk about it. Are you an attorney writing about legal issues, a nurse discussing the global proliferation of drug resistant viruses?

Read the rest of Don's answer here!

--Don Otis, publicist and author
Veritas Communications

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I've been doing a lot of writing lately, at 160 characters at a time. Twitter is sort of like blog, but only shorter. It's a way to keep track of what your friends are up to. It's also a great way to meet new friends.

You can check out my profile at:

If you're at all interested at what I do all day ... that will tell you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lord, Teach me to pray about everything!

I've been thinking a lot about prayer lately. Mostly about how prayer transforms my heart. In the last few months there's been a ton to pray about: our mission trip, the Czech people, my teens, my book projects, our (never ending) adoption paperwork, life.

In the last twenty days I've returned from Europe, finished two books (that were mostly complete), and I'm working on finishing a third. We've welcomed an amazing foreign exchange student into our home. I'm trying to figure out the new school year with my kids.

This morning, Hurricane Gustav is heavy on my thoughts as well as the upcoming election. I'm also still thinking about all my new friends in the Czech Republic, and praying their drawing closer to Jesus day-by-day.

I'm not praying because I want to change God's mind about any of the events. I'm praying so God will change my mind and my heart. I know He has a perfect plan, and my desire is to align my heart with His.

Here is a great quote about that from this morning's Bible Study:

He seeks to rouse the spirit of intercession that He may be able to bestow His blessing on mankind. God regards intercession as the highest readiness to receive and to yield themselves wholly to the working of His almighty power. --Andrew Murray, Prayer

Reading this, God wants me (and His world) to have the best that He can give ... so He gives me the desire to pray. He does it to mold my heart. To align my thoughts with His.

I suppose that God could automatically do His will without my prayers--or the prayers of His people. But, if He did, how would I recognize His work?

I've been praying more lately, not because I'm becoming more spiritual, but because I'm realizing that God chose for His power and provision to be released through the prayers of His people ... not only for the answers that prayer bring, but for the molding of the prayers' hearts. The molding of my heart.

I want God's perfect will for this moment more than I want anything else. And my greatest prayer is that I'll be drawn to pray more and truly understand what it means to "pray without ceasing." To try to live every day seeking God's power and provision in even the little things, knowing that the main point isn't that my circumstances change, but rather my view of God-at-work deepens.