Monday, November 5, 2012

I Love the U.S.A.

Have you ever lived outside the United States of America? Have you had to deal with the hassles that citizens of less fortunate countries must contend with every day? Have you experienced life in a nation where the commodities we have available here are so much harder to come by?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, perhaps you served in the military or as a missionary in a 3rd world, impoverished, or war-stricken country. Or, maybe you decided to spend a little time abroad in a land that offered certain fascinating, historical wonders we don’t have here in the U.S. Maybe you just wanted to see what other parts of the world have to offer.

If you answered no to the questions in the first paragraph, then you most likely do not appreciate our country as much as those of us who have been away for enough time to recognize how good we really have it here. I can’t imagine how our military men and women must feel when they return home from war in foreign lands, and they hear people complain about the things we don’t have enough of, or how bad things are here.

I spent two and a half years in Italy, and experienced first-hand what it’s like to live in a country ruled by socialistic laws. How about this: a salary of $600 a month for an executive assistant is considered a good wage. Have a spouse who dies? Guess what? An  unthinkable amount of the inheritance is taken away by the government. Need a procedure such as an endoscopy, colonoscopy, etc? You’re going to have to wait six months, so if you have cancer, bye-bye. Need to see your neurologist or cardiologist? Again, there’s a six month wait. Oh, and I won't mention the gas prices.

I haven’t even covered a small fraction of what it means to “have less” in a country other than this great nation. I came running back home as soon as I had the chance, and will never look back. Yes, some countries have a lot to offer, but their freedoms don’t compare.

Our nation has fallen into a sad status of grave degeneracy, and we are in danger of succumbing to turmoil much worse than what we’ve experienced over the last several years. What I will say, though, is that no matter who is elected tomorrow, I will still be grateful every day for what I have as a citizen of the U.S. If the person I vote for doesn’t win, sure, I’ll probably feel nauseated for a little while. But in the end, I’ll come back to the same conclusion:


[If] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Latest

Just a couple, but important things to note. Good news, or bad news first? I'll do the bad news.

Really, it's not bad, but sad. I heard back from one of the agents. He just found out he has brain cancer, so he's not taking any new clients. He assured me that he was passing not due to my story concept or writing, but because he simply couldn't handle taking on any new projects right now. Needless to say, I was saddened by the news of his health situation. Forget about my writing - that's just a minor detail. If any of you would like to add him to your prayer list, his name is Lee Hough (pronounced "Huff"). The good news he gave me is that it is treatable. That treatment will obviously take quite a toll on his body. Another thing - he had a very bad form of brain cancer in 2011. He had the tumor removed and chemo (or radiation), and 6 months later he was in remission! I'm sure his body will respond well to the treatment.

The good news - I submitted the proposal for my second novel to the other agent. I actually heard from her last week. She said she is in the process of reviewing the proposal for my first novel.

We'll see what happens. If she passes, I'm totally fine with it. I know everything will happen at the right time. If she is interested, she'll ask to see my full manuscript next.

Now I'm going to get back to my freelance editorial work, which I've neglected this week in order to complete my proposal. I still need to apply everything I learned at the conference to my manuscripts, so I'll be doing that as well, but on the side.

As soon as I get more news, I'll post it!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Special Company

On Saturday night at the conference gala, my friend Becky and I were looking for a table. We apparently were on the wrong side of the room, as all the tables were reserved. Just as we started to walk in another direction, a sweet lady called us to sit at her table. Come to find out, she was one of the nominees for an award that evening! Miss Liz Johnson is her name.

So we sit down and get comfy. A cute, petite blond gal sat next to me. When Liz introduced us, I found out that the sweet lady is the Book Buyer for a large book store chain! This is the one the publishing houses go to and ask her to put their books on the shelves at the book stores.

I must say, she was probably the sweetest person I met at the conference. I told her about my two novels and she said, "I'd read them."

Anyway, meeting the author and employee of the book store chain was yet another great opportunity for connections.

Pretty soon, I'm going to have the characters of my novels start guest-posting for me. That should be fun! :-)

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Next Step

Attending the writer's conference last week was the best thing I could do for my writing career. I had the magnificent opportunity to meet other unpublished writers, authors, literary agents and other publishing professionals. Not to mention, I got to spend four days with a good friend.

Ready for the news, yet?

What I never expected, but greatly hoped for, came true. I came home with literary agents interested in my work!

Not just one, but two! They both want me to send a proposal and sample chapters. This is a huge step in a writer's endeavors to attain publication, and not easy to accomplish.

Needless to say, I'm just a little excited.

It's going to be a difficult task to perfect my proposal. A proposal tells the agent all about the writer, the writer's novel they're trying to publish, and why that novel will be a success in the marketplace. It's a one-shot chance to convince an agent that the writer would be a good addition to his/her client list.

Even if it doesn't end up working out with these agents, the connections I made with them are priceless.

I'm so grateful that I was provided with the opportunity to attend the conference, and look forward to the results it has to bring.

Want to know about another huge connection I made at the conference? Stay tuned, and I'll write a post later this week.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

And the title is...

Shadows of Tobago

Although Sever the Blossom received more votes, I decided to go with Shadows of Tobago. Last night I was working on my one-sheet (one of the documents I will be showing agents & editors at the conference), and the following phrase came to me while I was writing:

Unforeseen shadows linger in the corners of the tropical paradise 

The important aspect is that the title sets the tone of the novel. Below are a few comments of those who like the title:
"Shadows of Tobago, implies mystery and intrigue"
"Gives it a sinister tone"
"Sounds ominous"

Remember, my novels are Romantic Suspense with elements of Thriller. An article I read last night, by an agent I hope to pitch to this weekend, said that the title needs to set the tone for the story. And that's just what Shadows of Tobago does!

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Writer's Conferences

One week from tomorrow I'll be heading off to Dallas for the ACFW conference! It's a huge deal for writers, especially for those who are unpublished and have stories that they're ready for the world to read.

Want to know why? Read on...

For those of you who are unaware of how things work in the publishing industry these days - I know I was until about 2 years ago - it's not so easy to get your manuscript on the desk of an editor at a publishing house. Gone are the days when you can just mail in your work to a publisher. Unless you have inside contacts, the only way to get your work seen by a publishing house is through a literary agent.

That being said, it's not easy to get an agent to look at your work either. Many many (I could write it 10 more times, but you get my point) people have written books. Some good, some decent, some not so good. All of these writers want to get their books published. Thing is, publishers can put out only so many books a year. Understandably, literary agents must be extremely selective in the writers they choose to represent. Most of the writers who contact them, usually by email, are rejected

Here's what happens at a conference:

Writers get to meet agents face-to-face and pitch their novels to them. Guess what other audience writers have at conferences? Editors!

Going to a writer's conference is something serious writers must experience. For those seeking publication, it can be a turning point in their career. Although, again, there will be hundreds of writers there pitching their work to agents and editors. 

Not only that, it's a great place to network, there are exceptional learning opportunities in the workshops, and friends to be made.

Much preparation is involved for those who will be seeking out agents and editors. I'm well underway and feel confident that I'll be prepared for this awesome experience!

Oh, and did I mention that I get to go with a close friend of mine who is also a writer? Even better!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Editing Time

I finished the 1st draft of Tobago on July 20th. After a two week break, I am starting on the revision process with a fresh set of eyes. There is a lot of work to do before I pitch the novel to agents and editors at the AFCW writer's conference in September.

After my 1st revision, I have a handful of critiquers who are going to mark it up for me. They'll be the first to experience my new story, and I can't wait for the feedback! Shoot, I might just post the Prologue in the next few weeks to get feedback from anyone who'd like to read it. The more eyes, the better!

Another big task - I still have to come up with a title! Tobago just isn't going to do...

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pregnancy Creativity

When I announced my big surprise on Facebook last week, someone commented, "It is a known fact that writers create their most fascinating work while pregnant!"

I hope that to be true, because I have a lot to do. Just so happens, I've come up with some new ideas for my novel that will create a nice, unexpected twist. Now, my fingers are ready to make up for the time I've lost caused by the disctraction of a wonderful little surprise: a life growing inside my womb!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Keep on Blogging

I decided to temporarily postpone blogging since I felt no one was reading my posts, especially the snippets from Charge of the Beast.

A fellow writer friend encouraged me to start blogging again. It's not necessarily about the number of readers, she said, it's more about doing it for yourself. I guess I'm preparing myself for future blogs when people will hopefully be reading as fans of a published author!

So, I'll start 'em back up. If anyone ever read my previous posts which included snippets from CotB and would like for me to keep posting more, let me know and I'll be happy to do so.

Comments, anyone??

Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Novel

I'm about a quarter of the way through my second novel, which is yet to be named. I'm waiting for that perfect title to come to me. Right now, I'm just calling it "Tobago".

Tobago is a compelling story that details the events of two women's lives, strangers to each other, as they happen at the same time.

Trudie Paxton, from England, finds herself in Houston, Texas after her newly-bewedded husband is awarded a two year contract with an oil and gas company. The thing she fears most is the possibility of losing him to another woman.

Kelcy Steeples, a native Houstonian, is the winner of a reality show. She is hoping to start a new life in which no one will recognize her from television. She finds success and romance, but realizes that this new kind of life brings along its own challenges.

When they experience the same life-threatening situation, Trudie and Kelcy must set their uncertainty aside in order to return to the life that they took for granted.

Tobago will appeal mostly to women, but the men who are true romantics at heart will enjoy it as well.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

And So the Fun Begins... End of Chapter 15:


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

From chapter 10


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Thursday, January 19, 2012

A piece from chapter 8


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Friday, January 13, 2012

This weeks' excerpt: short but sweet


And the rest is history... in my novel, that is!

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Elijah Zahavi

One of my most important supporting characters, Elijah, enters CotB in chapter 6.


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