Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday's Stuff and Things

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Not a whole lot to rattle about today...

Mmm, a good start to my day. My belly is full after a delectable breakfast burrito, made with one spinach and garlic tortilla, two scrambled eggs, pepperjack cheese and crispy strips of bacon. And now for dessert - any guesses? Yep, an iced mocha. Or two. Really, I should start advertising for them or something...


Ode to Sweet Mocha Goodness

Oh, Starbucks, how good you are to me,
Do you know what pleasure you bring?
The mere thought of you in the morning
makes my taste buds sing.

I seek you out at least once a day
You bring me simple happiness –
More than pure water, who needs it?
or anything with caffeinated fizz.

I find myself hunting dimes and pennies
just to purchase a bottle of you,
Sweet mocha frappuccino.
Without you what would I do?

Your low-fat concoction is bliss
your taste so divine,
When poured over ice, sipped through a straw
nothing is as fine.
You are a moment of peace
in a hectic day of mommyness.
You are mine and mine alone
and I treasure your goodness.


So I had no interest in reading it, even with all the hubbub. But then my friend bought the series, raved about them, and I borrowed book one.

I'm talking about this, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. For those unfamiliar with the books, they follow the lives of some teenagers... a human girl, a vampire boy, and - I think later down the line - a love triangle presents itself with a werewolf. I know, right? Take the content mixed with the fact these are Young Adult in genre, I'd only been fascinated over Meyer's success. But I decided I'd see what all the fuss was about... I admit, I can't turn my internal editor off. Going by what I've been taught about the writing world today, I see a lot of glaring "no-nos": the overabundance of clunky, cringe-worthy adverbs like "something came to me belatedly," "he said significantly," "his expression was murderously angry," and some telling vs. showing. I'm not sure if it's author's style or the fact that she's written for teenagers, and maybe they understand such stuff better. Regardless of all this that makes me sigh, I haven't been sucked into a storyline like this in months, it's soooo good. I'm getting really caught up in what's happening. Can I avoid chores to read? Check. Can I toss the girls outside to play, and read while I keep half an eye on them from the deck? Done. Will I lose track of time as I soak in the tub, not realizing an hour-and-a-half has passed and my water has gotten as cold as the vampire's frigid hands? Yes. Yes I will. So this book is amazing. It's not up everyone's alley, I'm sure - I didn't think it was up mine. But if you're willing, I recommend it. Though maybe that's just the teenage girl who still lives inside me...


And I sent my (requested) full manuscript to Avalon Books yesterday. They should have it by Wednesday or Thursday. And then I wait. No telling how long. I saw some info at AW, and others have waited from 4-12 months for their rejections from Avalon. Didn't see anything about purchases. *deep breath* But we shall see. And I'll keep you posted.

And I haven't updated on my agent search in a long while since I've not heard yay or nay from anyone in weeks. At this point in time, I'm okay with that.
Everyone have a great Tuesday, and best of luck with all your endeavors - written and otherwise.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Learning From Your Characters

Ellie, the main character in my novel Bliss Lake, is like me in a lot of ways. Part of her personality, like mine, is a self-conscious awkwardness. She can be so painfully aware of herself and a moment she's in, especially when she's face-to-face with someone, that she trips up. She'll say something that comes out wrong, even when she means well, or it just won't make sense at all. And it completely embarrasses her.

But there are also instances when Ellie is cool and smooth. She knows just what to say at the right time, when her interactions with people are fluid and warm.

We all know people who are this way; people who are completely at ease with themselves, who don't have to figure out what they're going to say, to get it just right. But even when Ellie comes off like this type of person, I've typically struggled over her dialogue. I've pounded her words out until the phrasing and connotation are just right, so that they appear effortless and focused paper.

Real life, real conversation, isn't that way for me. I can't edit as I go. I have only so few seconds to think on my feet, and can become easily flustered. It's mortifying. But the process of creating Ellie's character and writing her tendencies has helped me with my own. I've learned how to better think on the fly, to intuit what needs to be said and how. It's like I've somehow absorbed that part of Ellie's calm, as if by some writer's osmosis.

And that means Ellie has taught me something. I think that's pretty cool.

Have you ever learned something - or picked up a habit, perspective, etc., - from a character you've written? What was it?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Special Gift

A dear friend gave me something yesterday. She prefaced the presentation of her gift with a small speech.

"I knew as soon as you finished writing Bliss Lake I wanted to give you something. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted it to be, and now that I have it," she said, placing a small nondescript box in my hands, "I feel like it's cheesy."

Knowing she always gives gifts with deep thought and meaning, I argued it wasn't likely.

"Well, just so you know," she continued, "it's something to remind you of who you are, especially when you're feeling discouraged. You'll be able to look at it - but you don't have to display it if you don't want to - and know This is me. Plus, you might have a real use for it later."

At this point tears swam in each of our eyes, and I opened the box. This is what was inside.

It's a nameplate. And I love it. I told my best friend that, as soon as my new writing space is done, it's getting prime residence on my desk. Each time I look at it, it will remind me of my circle of support, of who I want to be, and it will inspire me to keep chasing this dream of mine. And, just as she said, perhaps in the future I can place it on my table at a book signing or conference.

What a fabulous gift she gave me.

And I consider it a sign of encouragement that just a few hours later I opened the mailbox to my first full manuscript request.

Hope you're all having a great weekend. :)

Friday, September 26, 2008


In the mail this afternoon was a FULL manuscript request (on spec) from Avalon Books! Can you believe it? I can't believe it! I know this means nothing significant quite yet, but it still means something, you know?

Ohmygoodnessgivemeachillpillandcallmegood, I'm SO excited!

For now I have to calm myself enough to read the letter in its entirety, but I'll fill you in more later. I just had to come deliver this rockin' news!

SO excited!

And was it Terri who suggested I submit to Avalon? Thank you, thank you, thank you!

AWOL And Back Again

I can't tell you how many times my reading material disappears. Just POOF! it's gone. Most times, as with toys my girls have misplaced, my book or magazine will reappear soon enough. (Although the new magazine I bought three weeks ago and never once cracked the cover on is still MIA...)

Last evening I left the novel I'm currently reading, Time Lottery, sitting on the kitchen table. After baths and bedtime and the season premiere of The Office, I was ready to snatch it and find out what happens next.

Gone! Couldn't find it anywhere.

I searched high and low to no avail. I tried to think like a three-year-old, knowing my stinker of a daughter may well have hidden it somewhere. No luck in the kitchen cabinets or freezer. Didn't find it mixed with the clothes OR shoes in the laundry room, wedged beneath a booster seat, or placed upon a shelf. But it hadn't wandered away on its own, either.

Disappointed though I was, I picked up a non-fiction book I hadn't yet finished and read it instead...
It wasn't until the wee hours of the morning that I found the missing book, when my oldest awoke with an aching ear. I'd turned the ceiling light on (in the room the girls share) so I could see well enough to administer ear drops. Success. And then, after I'd tucked bigwrites in and as I knelt to kiss littlewrites before leaving the room, there it was. My book. Tucked between the edge of her bed and the wall, half-hidden by the billowy curtain.

Have you lost or misplaced reading materials before? How and when did you find them?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nine Years

Today's my anniversary. Misterwrites* and I have been wedded for 9 years. I could say lots of stuff here, but I'll just go with the fact that we're happy, even despite how hard marriage can be.

Happy Day, misterwrites (not to be entirely confused with Mr. Right)!

*For anyone curious as to his nickname, he became misterwrites when my username became jannawrites on a writing website. So now you know. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quiet... and FESTiness


Do you hear that?

No, no, ignore that ridiculous cricket. (Bah! Why must he interrupt my morning?) I wish you could hear how quiet it is here. The only sounds around me are the hum of my computer, the occasional passing of a truck, and the click-clack of my keyboard. It's glorious!

Know why? I'm home alone. Misterwrites is at work, bigwrites is at school, and littlewrites is with my parents for some one-on-two time. I very nearly don't know what to do with myself. Do I use this chance to catch up on chores, uninterrupted? Surely not. Do I focus on some writing, uninterrupted? Or take a good book to my favorite chair and devour it? Yes, both of those sound nice. Maybe I'll do them each through the course of the day...


After my post about the Omaha Lit Fest, Joanne asked me to share some of the things I took away from the event. Thanks for expressing that interest, Joanne. Here you be.

The first panel I attended was called Plagiarism, Fraud, and Other Literary Inspiration. The participating authors, though touching on varying topics within the broader scope, seemed always to come back to yes, plagiarism, but most often the recently-seen (and unwelcomed) practice of touting fiction as memoir. (Think James Frey, A Million Little Pieces.) Where is the line drawn between the author's truth, as a creative writer forming their own world, and the "truth" they're selling their readers? Obviously no blunt answer was given, but I gleaned from debate that we're all held responsible for what we write... be it fiction or non-fiction... and how we relay what we've written to our audience. We're held accountable for both presentation and representation. How do you feel about it?

Next was If You Haven't Got Anything Nice to Say About Anybody, Come Sit Next to Me: "writers and artists on the responsibility to offend." An odd choice for me, because I seek to offend no one. Ever. But rousing conversation ensued, when panelists talked about what offends them as readers, but also what they've experienced with offended readers of their own works. This is from where my broad generalization that the ambience was so liberal came, because while topics and words were thrown around with ease and comfort (sex and a certain "f" word, the latter for which I have absolutely no need), and the authors discussed how quick "society" is to over-react or become uncomfortable. And I was offended. Not the kind of get-up-and-leave, or let-them-know-and-cause-a-scene kind of offended, but I found it distasteful. That said, it reiterated to me where my comfort level lies. What am I comfortable discussing as a writer? As a person? How will I uphold my values and morals through the words I write? What about you?

**Please visit the comments screen and scroll to #10(ish) for my example of the type of offenses relevant to this discussion**

The third panel I attended was How Does That Make You Feel? Writers on Psychology. Here, panelists talked about their works, even reading excerpts, and how they found peace and healing through the process - and hoped to help others find the same. Most were memoirs, with topics such as abuse and addiction, though one author read from her novel (in which therapy played a role). What I learned from this hour was that, regardless of what we write, there's a certain catharsis involved. Whether we need personal healing from the content within or simply find the process of putting words and stories together therapeutic - and the idea of others reading our words and stories - we all feel something deeper. Your thoughts?

And last (for me) was Pretty On The Outside: Designers, Publishers and Writers on Book Cover Design. I admit, I only stayed halfway through this one, since, in part, that niggling feeling was starting up; the one telling me I had sweet daughters to get back to... The panelists showed us their books, and talked about their involvement over the finished look of their covers (both from big houses and independent pubs). It was kind of a premature topic for me, since I don't even have representation yet, but I found it interesting nonetheless. It sounded as though authors can get quite a bit of say in conception and design of their book's cover - which I thought neat, since I've always had a particular idea in mind for Bliss Lake (my novel). But what I got most from this discussion was that authors need to be involved. There's no reason you shouldn't, especially after you've sold your book and your role has transitioned into marketing, be proactive in each of the steps for publication. Maybe this is common knowledge, maybe this is stuff one's agent and/or editor would make clear, anyway. But it was something I'd never thought of before... and it makes sense. Our job isn't over once we've procured representation, or even a publisher. We still have to heavily involve ourselves... if for no other reasons than to insure we've represented ourselves well, that we're comfortable with our book's outcome, and that it will be at its best, all said and done. Do you agree?

And that, my friends, is what I learned from the Lit Fest. I should mention, the Fest was absolutely free. I merely showed up and gained entry. And I suspect they're all that way. If you've interest in attending such a festival, search google for "literary festivals" in your nearest big city. I'll be curious to see what you yourself gain from going...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday's Stuff and Things

So it's Tuesday, a typical, unremarkable weekday, and it's time once again for Stuff and Things. Can you believe it? Where do the days go?

Being part of a community of like-minded writers rocks. I love sharing my thoughts and ideas with others who understand the process and drive (and even those who aren't writers but appreciate it nonetheless), and I really enjoy the network I've been able to build. Thank you all for being a part of it.

I love beautiful, crisp fall days, when you can open the windows, air out the house, and freshen your soul. There's something nostalgic and stirring about the colors, the smell, the feel. What do you like about fall?

I bought an old quilt over the weekend, with fabulous muted colors (some so pale you have to look closely), that I'm hoping to use on my bed someday soon. The only problem is that one of the stars virtually exploded at some point in the past, and the quilt batting is visible. There are women I can ask about repairs, but I dare not wash it in my machine and damage it further. I just need to figure out what to do that's not cost prohibitive. Any ideas? I also need to lay it out in the sun to freshen it just a bit. Any other suggestions?

Just when I think my writing goals are headed one way, inspiration sends them another. When I think I can only fit so much on my plate, a spot opens up for something on the side. Do you find the same?

And God is awesome.

What's going on for you today?


In response to yesterday's post about the Omaha Lit Fest I attended, Joanne asked, "Can you share any specific themes/tips/advice you might have learned there?" I'll collect my thoughts and check my notes, and that shall be tomorrow's post.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Omaha Literary Festival

When I learned of the Omaha Lit Fest a couple months ago, I knew I had to go. Not only is it a comfortable drive, but we have family outside the city. And it's all about writing! So I booked reservations at my aunt and uncle's house early and, though I didn't know what to expect, I looked forward to it for weeks.

Here's just before I left the house Saturday morning. (It's hiding behind my tote there, but my belly's full of egg and cheese casserole, cantalope, and cherry turnover. Mmm.) We joked about "my first day of school," because I had a few butterflies. But despite my excited smile, I was really neither bright-eyed nor bushy-tailed. (That didn't come until after coffee later...)

So knowing my mom and aunt had plans with my daughters (the hubs stayed home for work), thus creating freedom for me, I set off for downtown Omaha.

I parked several blocks from the venue and started out on foot, seeing these beautiful scenes along the way. Funny, the two extremes.

The Fest commenced at Aromas Coffee House, where you could fuel up and peruse the participating authors' titles. I didn't buy any books (shocking!) but had an absolutely nummy... drum roll, please... iced mocha (not shocking!).
Then I walked a block and a half to the Bemis Center, where all hour-long panel discussions took place. Two rooms were set up and, depending upon the topic you wanted to see, you could float between the two. (If you're curious, you can click on the link above and see the discussion topics under events.)

The whole ambience was urban, sophisticated, artsy, liberal. It was a very cool experience. But, though I'd expected it, I learned the genres and topics discussed had more to do with literary fiction and what I'll call "gritty" non-fiction than anything I typically write. That said, there was a lot discussed that didn't resound with me... yet still a whole heckuvalot that did. Regardless of medium or content, much hit on more general writerly themes, and I absorbed it all. I loved sitting there, inconspicuous and quiet, listening. I took gobs of notes and snagged some take-home literature.
Though the authors and panelists were none I'd ever heard of, they're all successful within their niches. It was great to hear their stories of work and success, to see what they've made of their careers. The experience was a definite encouragement that propelled my desires, and assured me of the place I fit into within the literary world.
My hope was that I would get my toes wet, and feel ready to take on a workshop or conference. And I think I'm ready!
I hope everyone had as great a weekend as I did. And I hope you have a great week with lots of writerly accomplishment!

PS. Sorry for the smooshed-together format. I tried to fix it, but when pictures are added it saves and publishes the way it wants to. *sigh*

Friday, September 19, 2008

What It Takes to Be a Writer

PASSION: I feel like sometimes people throw this word around on a whim; a romantic or melodramatic whim. Sometimes I cringe when I hear it. But passion doesn’t just refer to over-the-top desire or emotion; also to interest, affection, enthusiasm. And this is where passion molds with writing. It’s what drives this dream of ours; to express ourselves, to put our thoughts out there for others to absorb, to understand how our words can so clearly, poignantly touch another.

DISCIPLINE: Probably one of the hardest yet most integral parts of a writer’s life, for it doesn’t take just thinking. Or plotting. Imagining. It’s the wherewithal to sit down and do. You have to stop the niggling voices (sometimes internal, when they tell you you’re no good… sometimes external, when your physical space is shared), find that zone, sometimes fight through the wall of a blank mind and a blank page. It takes a firm inner voice, one that tells you you’re going to do it, no matter the effort or cost.

PATIENCE: Success as a writer doesn’t come all at once. I could liken it to golf: Tiger wants a record-breaking score. He wants the trophy. But he has take the course one hole at a time, and each goes best if he’s calm and focused. Likewise with writers. It takes steps, many of them, approached with a patient mind and patient heart. And there may be obstacles, hazards, loose impediments along the way, but patience will make our progress smoother.

POSITIVE OUTLOOK: We all get discouraged. I hope I’m not the only writer who wavers between confidence and uncertainty. But even when we question ourselves and our goals, when we see how another writer has found success and wonder where we’ve gone wrong, we must look at the bigger picture. It takes an understanding that every writer is different. We all have different talents within this literary world, and there’s a niche for them all. In addition, no two writers’ plans are the same. We have to believe our time is out there, and that each step we take – individual to our schedules, preferences, resumes, styles - takes us closer to our plan. It’s focusing on that, not where others can be found, or how others (like agents) have thus far perceived us, that gets us through.

CONFIDENCE: Confidence is one of the biggest elements pushing us forward. It’s believing in ourselves and our talents, even when doubt tries to break through. It takes faith in what we’re trying to write and how we’re writing it, because one who doesn’t believe in himself and his words doesn’t stand a chance of making himself and his words believable to his reader.

PERSEVERANCE: We cannot give up. If all these things – passion, discipline, patience, positive outlook, and confidence – have lined up within us, we have no choice but to proceed with perseverance. Throwing the towel in does not grasp us our dream. Fruition never comes if we don’t keep pushing and seeking. We cannot give up.

Can you think of anything to add to my list?

I'll be leaving town this afternoon, with plans to attend a Lit Fest tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it! I'll report back when I return.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Want a Fancy Schmancy Blob? Er, Blog?

I'd been thinking about giving my blog a new look, and yesterday Melissa suggested I visit The Cutest Blog on the Block. Score!

Now part of me is still unsure about something so fancy. Though I really like this background a lot, I don't want something that will be hard to read or too busy to the eye, for I don't wish to turn readers away. But I did want to spruce things up, and this certainly did it!

If you want to change things up on your blog as well, just visit the link above. You'll see a left-hand column on the site, and all you need to do is click on "free backgrounds." You can sift through them until you find one you like, then follow the directions to apply it to your own blog.

You first have choose the Minima template from Blogger, so you're in essence starting with a blank canvas. Then, still from Blogger, you "add a gadget" from the Edit Layout screen (accessed through your dashboard), select that you're adding an html code, and copy your Cutest Blog template code into the box. Boom! A new look! You may also have to access "fonts and colors" from the layout screen in Blogger, to make all your text coordinate. (Thanks to Angie for telling me that.) It's super easy to navigate.

So let me know what you think of my new look, and tell me if you're going to get one, too!


So which is better... this? Or the blue I had earlier today?

Things Are A-Changin'

Just wanted to let you know, I'm doing a little housecleaning. I'd like to change my blog's background, and hope you faithful readers don't mind. I really dig this blue... it's just about my favorite color. But I don't know yet if I'll stick with it.

Anyone know how to customize?

Let me know at any time if there's something that's hard to read or unattractive. And please remember it might take just a little bit to adjust to the new look.


As For Today...

I'm pleased to post that today things are much clearer. Has that ever happened to you? You express your thoughts and concerns to others and then, perhaps because you've laid things on the table and can get a full look at them, from every angle, the answer becomes as plain as day? Things just click?

Yesterday afternoon it was impressed upon me that I should proceed with my non-fiction proposal. I will pursue agents who represent narratives, and simply see where it leads.

And then, after having read yesterday's post (scroll down one), a writing buddy pointed me to the site of a well-known imprint. They publish romance and women's fiction (among other things) with an inspirational focus, and writers can submit directly to them. One of the best parts, though I've inadvertantly met nearly every one of their guidelines (because of my style and themes and personal morals), is that they take novels with as little as 55,000 words. This means, my dear friends, that if I take another looksee at Bliss Lake and flesh things out with just 4000+ words more, I can meet their requirement. And submit. And see what happens. And create (I hope) a longer manuscript in the meantime. THIS is what I needed to push me; a specific goal, with an outcome I could shoot for. I love that!

Now from (recent) past experiences, I've learned not to get my hopes up. I'm not going to get ahead of myself, for who knows what my plan holds. I sure don't. But I'm confident, as I've mentioned before, that each step I take gets me closer to my ultimate destination.

And I know I keep coming back to the metaphor of direction and signs and the path before me... but I'm going to step out in faith on that path. I'll see where this last set of directions takes me, and pray for guidance along the way.

How do you make your way?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday's Stuff and Things

The crickets. They still reign.

As the mornings become darker and colder, it's harder for me to get out of bed. (I LOVE my snooze button.) Getting around to take my oldest to school is increasingly difficult, but we're making it happen. And I'm hopeful we'll fall into a better routine with several days' time.

I sit here at my computer, an iced mocha within reach. Seriously, it's one of the best parts of my day, that iced mocha; savoring the smell, the flavor, because it's something that in that moment is only mine. And something even as simple as a favored drink brings joy... thought... inspiration.

My youngest, who's decked out in her favorite dress and tiara, uses her wand to transform me into a princess every few moments. "Bibby bobby doo!" *sashays* Aren't I pretty?

But as for my writing... It's as though I'm sitting in the middle of a large triangle, and each of its three corners holds something I reach to grasp. In the first corner sits my novel, Bliss Lake. Having been my baby for almost two years now, from conception through writes, edits, rewrites, betas, queries, rejections, it's what feels most tangible. But I've put queries on hold. Why? Because I don't know what to do. I continue to (most days) have faith in myself, confidence in my work, but I don't want to fall just short of all I can do. Maybe my query letter needs reworked again? I've done a little brainstorming, made a few notes. But also, something I've always known but blazed on despite, my manuscript is short for its genre. My ms is 51,000 words, whereas many in contemporary or women's fiction are closer to 80k. That's a huge difference! But all this time I've stuck with my story as/is, knowing there are shorter works of fiction out there, and with belief that adding to its word count would only mean padding and filling. And I don't want to take away from the story. But now, as I stew over rejections, I wonder if it's hurting me. Though no single rejection, even personalized, has mentioned my word count, I don't want to continue querying if it's making things harder. So how do I know? The large part of me wants to believe that MY agent, MY moment is out there, regardless of those factors, because my story and my enthusiasm and my faith will stand alone. But how do I know?

The second corner holds the proposal for my narrative non-fiction. Being that non-fiction is most times easiest to find representation for and get published... which could then better facilitate novel publication... perhaps this one is the most tangible. My proposal rocks. And after what pushed me to write it up, I don't dare abandon it. But if I'm to focus on this, doesn't that mean putting Bliss Lake on the back burner? After all I've put forth for it, I'm not certain I'm ready to do that. But I don't know how to do both, either. I can't query one agent with both at the same time. But is it realistic to query them individually, simultaneously? Especially when I want an agent who'll represent both books - my whole career? And so then which do I query for an agent who seems perfect? The narrative non-fiction? Or the novel? BAH!

And the third corner, there in the dark, is my WIP. The story of Tate, whose wife turns his world upside-down by making poor, selfish choices, leading him down the path of severely tested faith. I know once I'm deeper into this story, I'll believe in it, too. I know I will. But I can't let myself go there yet, not with my questions over the other two projects.

So I sit here, stranded. In the middle of the triangle, unsure as to which corner I should proceed. I pray and I wait for signs, sometimes thinking I have it figured out. But then the uncertainty settles in again and I dare not step closer to any one corner, lest it be the wrong one.

What would you do?

And do you have a cricket problem?

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent - A Book Review

Do you like to escape to written worlds that bear no resemblance to your own? Lose yourself in one such world, one over three centuries old...

In The Heretic's Daughter, the debut novel from Kathleen Kent, you'll look at late-1600s life through the eyes of nine-year-old Sarah Carrier. Through her perspective, so indicative of an era when children were forced to grow wise before their time, were held accountable during insurmountable circumstances, we learn of a far different existence from what we know today.

It's during Sarah's tranformation from child to young woman that we learn, as she does, that her mother stands accused as the Salem Witch Trials commence. What will this mean for Sarah and her family? What does fate hold for her mother, Martha, one of the first women tried for witchcraft?

Kent's novel, written with beautiful, antiquated prose and incredible articulation, is based on true accounts of her own Puritan ancestors--including the real Martha Carrier. The reader will feel persecution along with the Carrier family, will understand the incredulity of circumstance. One will sense fear of the unknown, and the struggles of times so different from our own.
If I had stars to pass out... this book would get all five of them.

This review was written in association with Blog Stop Book Tours, which you can visit for additional information and reviews.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Saturday Means...

As this morning dawned, I wondered about what the weekend may bring for others.

For us... Saturday means sleeping in just a bit. We laze around with morning cartoons, and have a big breakfast. And we try to fit some family fun in before my husband leaves for his weekend shift.

This morning, a cool, drizzly day, the four of us loaded up in the golf cart and adventured. We traversed back gravel roads, taking dips and turns for which our daughters, thinking it as fun as a roller coaster, raised their arms with glee. We breathed in the crisp air as we raced our dog, Lucy, who followed on foot.

We found a nearby cemetery and descended upon its grounds, weaving among headstones. We told our girls, delicately, of what the sturdy pieces meant, and ticked off the years of age-crusted marble slabs. And when Emma, our five-year-old, found the headstone for a woman named the same, from the 1800s, her face showed the awe I felt inside.

Setting out on four wheels once again, we came to the hundreds-of-feet tall water tower, and looked at the globe above us. Wondering at its size, we imagined the outcome if the steel structure burst and washed us away.

We took the indirect way home, enjoying the tail-end of our excursion. It ended too soon, but tell me the outing wasn't full of inspiration.

And now I have the remainder of the day stretched ahead of me. With misterwrites gone to work, we girls are left to our own devices. One watches a Barbie movie, the other plays Disney Princesses online, and I consider my options. Shall I work on that still-unfinished column? My deadline is the 22nd... Should I pull up the WIP? Tate, the main character, calls to me in distress over the position in which I last left him... I need to make a decision about Novel 1, and where I go with it next. (I've put querying on hold... I'll post about that soon.) And yesterday, a friend gave me a copy of the book she's begun writing. I'm eager to get feedback to her, so there's that. But then again... I've got a delicious book waiting for me... and a hot bath sounds nice...

What about you? How do your Saturdays play out?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Technorati and a Celebrity

What is Technorati, exactly? I think I'd heard of it before. But the other day, when I did a Google search for Something She Wrote (which is also the business name of my writing and editing service - though I haven't sought out any jobs in months), I was surprised when views of and links for my blog popped up. Is it a search engine of sorts? Do your blogs come up as well? I haven't registered mine anywhere, so I just wondered how it came to be listed.

ETA: A little virtual memory just stirred... that a friend or writing co-hort registered me. Is that right? Who was it? Ack. I can't remember!

And in unrelated news (though I saw the blurb on Technorati's main page)... Lauren Conrad, a girl made famous by reality tv, just signed a three-book contract. It's to be a fictional series about a young woman whose life is much like Lauren's own. This is all fine and dandy, and I'm not going to pout or talk about how easy it is for celebrities to get published but... *pouts* Why is it so gosh-darn easy for celebrities to get published? *ahem* I know, I know. They have established names, which means they already have an established fan base. Which means they're sure to sell lots of copies, and publishers bank on that.

I just have to wonder - and not in a holier-than-thou sort of way, honest - but, does she really have an interest in writing, for the craft itself? Does she know how much work it takes? Will she be able to do it alongside her television show and budding career as a fashion designer? I mean, who am I to judge, because I write alongside raising a family, maintaining a house and marriage, bolstering a spiritual life, etc., etc...

But does being a celebrity automatically make her a writer?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

As (sorta) Promised

A simple post...

Ran across this site the other day. I can see both benefits and potential downfalls but, still, it looks pretty darn cool. What do you think?

Word Count Journal

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And The Answer Is...

So in response to this entry from Sunday, 9 people (click on their names for their links) asked really great questions. (Although, one really wasn't a question per se. Janet.) Here they are, in the order they were posted, with my answers.

And my sincere apologies for the length of this post. My husband would say that, as always, I could have been much tidier and more efficient with my explanations. But that’s a writer for you, eh?

Travis Erwin: I believe you've mentioned living on or near a lake. How's the fishing, and what kind of fish are predominately sought?

We live at a 600+ acre lake in the Midwest, alongside peace and beauty. My husband fishes occasionally, not for sport but for recreation. We have the same fish as you do in Texas: bass, carp, crappie, bluegill, and catfish (our lake paper just reported a couple caught a 39 lb. flathead, though I'm not sure what the record is). We're also far enough north to have walleye, which I hear fishermen in these parts talk about often.

Janet: Questions with Qualman? This is queer. I quail at the thought, I quiver in fear. Will you quibble with my queries, quell my questions of quotidian quirks? What a quandary. Shall it cause quarrels? I lay down my quaking quill. I am not qualified.


Joshua: well....since you answered my rash question lol… Do you find it hard balancing writing, being a wife, being a mother, and making brownies?

Absolutely, it’s difficult. Being a stay-at-home-mom is the greatest of my blessings and priorities, but I don’t want that to be all I do. I don’t want to lose sight of who I am aside from Mommy and what my desires are. So, balance is crucial to me, though I often feel I fall short of attaining it. It seems like something’s always got to give. I’d like to devote equal parts of time and energy to all aspects of my life, but there are most certainly days where my focus skews. My daughters always get that one part of me; the part that fixes their meals, guides their activities, hugs and snuggles, helps them in the bathroom, answers their questions, reads books, etc... But “extras,” like sitting down at the computer to play a game together, or going to the park, or doing a craft, are traded off with the other parts of my life. Some days, because of tasks and demands, I spend a lot of time on homemaker things. Other days, dishes and laundry fall to the wayside and I focus on whatever writing project has my interest and drive. And somewhere in there is physical and emotional support for my husband. Some falls under my homemaking role, like keeping his work clothes clean (he’s working 6 days a week, 12 hrs+, and can’t possibly do it himself) and fulfilling his desire for all things baked. The emotional support is easiest, because we talk several times a day, and I’m always ready with an ear and (usually) a back rub (when he's actually home). I know I’ll be able to strike a better balance once both girls are in school and I have several uninterrupted hours a day, but until then I have to try to juggle it all through the course of each week.

Still, I feel like I’m able to get quite a bit of writing done, which I’ll get into more down in Melanie’s question.

Oh, and there’s always time for brownie making… ;)

Joanne: You've mentioned writing a column. Can you give us some details on that ... how often, subject, topics you've covered, things like that? I think that's a nice facet of a writing career.

Great question, Joanne! I created and write a column called Every Mom’s Column. It’s a humor piece appearing quarterly, based on my life as a mom, and I write it in the vein of Erma Bombeck’s style. (I love her writing.) My goal is to share anecdotes and experiences in a relatable way, one that will leave moms laughing and feeling good about motherhood. Every Mom’s Column is put out in our county’s health department newspaper, which is printed by the local publisher. Having first proposed the article to the publisher himself and getting no response (at all), I approached the health department (who holds creative control) directly, who thought it a great idea and signed me on. I’d put time and energy into seeking syndication with the column (or a larger pub) if I wasn’t trying to make something of myself as a novelist. Still, the kinds of writing that appear in my column (which I’ll give examples of below in Terri’s question) are a passion of mine.

Angie Ledbetter: I've got a long research list of possible women's fiction agents if ya wanna copy! How's the hunt going?

Thanks, Angie! AgentQuery.com has become my best friend, it seems. I’ve found many who might be a good match, though none (yet) who seem to feel the same. My women’s fiction currently has a dozen rejections, and I have quite a few more out… several of which enough time has passed and I expect to hear nothing. So it’s with wavering confidence and strengthening anxiety that I continue. I did decide last night to take anothe swipe at my query letter, make some new changes. Will be working on that...

WendyCinNYC: How's your daughter liking school so far? How did you meet misterwrites?

She’s loving it! Her little friends and the daily routine fill her with excitement, and she’s experiencing so much. She’s also learning that not every experience is perfect, because one of the teachers rubs her the wrong way. I’m using it as a opportunity to teach her that we’ll always have disagreeable people in our lives; people who aren’t nice no matter the circumstance, and all you can do is smile and go on about your day.

A close friend of mine in high school (still a dear friend today) had a block of college classes with misterwrites freshman year. One day she said, “Janna, I know a guy, and you’d be perfect for each other.” So she told me about him, and him about me. Soon we had a blind date… A month later we knew we were serious. Got married almost two years later. And our 9th wedding anniversary is in two weeks. :)

Terri Tiffany: I can't wait to read all the answers!! I wondered about your column too--can we read some?

Since it’s printed in a small publication it's not available online. But I once posted my introductory installment on AW, here, and posted one here on Blogger several weeks ago. Let me know what you think. :)

colbymarshall: If you could name yourself anything other than Janna, what would your name be?

What if I told you I always liked the name Hortense Bolivia? *snicker* I teased my husband with that name for both our daughters. In the end, we chose more traditional names. Anyway, to properly answer your question… I like the name Valerie. And maybe that’s because I was thisclose to being a Valerie. It was just a few weeks before I was born that close friends of my parents' had their girl and stole the name. So I became Janna.

Melanie Avila: Phew! I'm getting in just under the wire. Friday my cousin and I were discussing you over lunch (all good, I swear). As we watched her boys run laps around the table, screaming, she said she can't figure out how you manage to write as much as you do with two little ones. She thought perhaps the fact that they are girls means they aren't QUITE as rowdy, so I'm curious what you have to say about that.

I would also like to know your favorite place to buy clothes. Not your dream place, but where most of them come from. (In the states I'm a Limited/Gap kind of girl.)

Sometimes I have no idea how I manage. My girls are, I think, just as rowdy as the next kids, especially my five-year-old. I guess it’s pertinent to say I rarely have thoughts that aren’t interrupted, and I’m forever having to take a break from my writing and get back to it later. [In example, when I wrote this post yesterday, it took stolen snatches of time over a five-hour period, between lunch, laundry, dishes, phone calls, running to school, talking with the contractor, helping my three-year-old in the bathroom A LOT, changing said three-year-old's clothes A LOT (because she wants to be a princess! no, no, she wants to be a Cheetah Girl!), checking in on Blogger, Facebook and MySpace, and vacuuming up crickets (it’s a part-time job).] Small snippets come to me throughout the day, so it seems I’m often hopping up and down from my desk to get them down. It’s horribly sporadic. (It does help, depending on how you look at it, that my computer is right off our family room, where we spend a large amount of our time. All of that will change once our remodeling is done.) But when one daughter is gone and the other is napping, or they’re engrossed in a favorite movie or game, or they’ve gone to bed and I’ve caught my second wind, that’s when I fill in the larger chunks of my writing. I so wish I had more time like that, but it’s such a hard thing when they’re little. I try not to wish away time, or dream too much about my days when they’re both in school, but a fairly big part of me does look forward to it.

Where do I shop most? Hmm. That’s tough because I frequent so many discount stores, and a lot of my clothing comes from them. (By “discount” I don’t mean Wal-Mart – though they get a large amount of our money – but places who receive overstocks and misplaced freight, of which they then seriously reduce the prices.) But as for retail, probably Target and Kohls most often. And I love Old Navy.

Wow, that's a horribly long blog. Tell me honestly, did you read it all or skim? Perhaps I should make up for it with very short, very simple posts for the next few days...

Thanks for participating! I had fun!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday's Stuff and Things

Today on my mind...

Crickets! They're over-running our basement. I remember the same thing happened this time last year, but this is nuts. I've been tripping over the vacuum, which I've kept plugged in so I can just suck 'em up, for five days straight. I stopped counting the stinkers around forty-something, around Day 2, and all I know is I'm probably in need of a fresh (read: empty) vacuum bag. These things are gregarious, by the way. Where there's one, there are five more. And just as quickly as I've rounded up one family, another takes its place. They mock me, too. They crouch, all still-like, beckoning me to come hither. Quiet, like maybe they're already dead. So I sneak up with my squeaky Bissell. And then... rrrrrrrrpeep! And they fly up like a Tiddlywinks chip, forcing me to take chase. There's one--the same one the last three nights, I'd guarantee--that sits in an out-of-reach place in my bedroom (by golly if I didn't try to get my vacuum nozzle in there!), and it sounds like he's brought his own Bose system for high-quality amplification.

Durn pests. I will prevail. Oh yes, I will prevail.


What do you do when the contractor who's doing your remodeling hasn't shown up in two weeks? First, you complain about the progress your house isn't getting. You throw in a little whine about how badly you want progress. And then you pray everything's okay, given circumstances in this man's own life, and that it all works out in the end.

Okay, who out there is familiar with the Imagination Movers? It's a group of four dads who got together to make music (think Beastie Boys meet They Might Be Giants) for kids; Smitty, Dave, Rich and Scott. Love.these.dudes. While they've done videos and such for years, they finally have their own show on Playhouse Disney. (Here's where I'd imbed a YouTube video of them, if I knew how to do such a thing.) Let's celebrate!


A little over a week ago I headed out for an insignificant errand. As I turned a corner, this greeted me.

My first thought was, "How cheesy!" But then... I realized I was smiling. So this neighbor has succeeded in what I guess was their purpose behind the smiley. And now my daughters and I look forward to seeing that sign everyday.

Since my last update I've had two rejections, both for my non-fiction narrative. But I've also sent a few queries out. So, keeping the two separate, my stats are:

narrative non-fiction - 2 rejections, 2 out
women's fiction - 13 rejections, 17 out

And that 17 out makes me wonder... After how long with no response do you just understand it's a rejection? How long do I wait before I shift those that have been hanging for weeks from out to rejection? I know some agencies give guidelines for this and, of course, they vary. But what's a good, standard rule of thumb?

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Week of Possibility

It's Monday. And that means a whole week is stretched out before me. A full week during which any number of things could happen, especially in regards to my writing. I could hear back from an agent who's interested in my novel. Likewise, my non-fiction proposal. Inspiration could take over and push my WIP to a new, unforeseen place. A new idea could foam and roil. I could make a new connection; one that will serve to encourage me, or get me to that "next level," whatever that is.

Isn't it exciting? Knowing there's so much potential? And knowing you have a hand in how it unfolds?

For writers, as with anyone else, it takes forging ahead. You have to set structured, attainable goals, and work toward them with focus and command. And that's when you succeed.

What are your goals this week? What are you working toward?

Note: Since I'm due for Tuesday's Stuff and Things tomorrow, that puts my answers to your questions Wednesday. Still some time to ask away!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Questions With Qualman

Recently I've seen bloggers open the floor to questions from their readers. And I'd like to do the same, just for fun.

Is there a question you'd like to ask of me? Or, even if it has nothing to do with me, but there's something about which you need advice? (Before you put it in writing and embarrass yourself, no, I don't know what that rash is from...)

All I ask is that you be kind and respectful. I'll give it a couple days for any stragglers who come in late with a question. So. Lay it on me. What would you like to know?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's All About the Writing

I read a blog post by Travis Erwin the other day, who gave a sort of what's what about his writing. I thought I might borrow the format he used, and give clear answers as to my own. After all, what's a blog about writing if no one knows the kind of writing you do? (I recently posted a sample of my fiction.) Oh, I've mentioned snippets of my projects and interests here and there, but this is a nice run-down of all my writerly workings. And, 'cause you know, if an agent happens by my blog, they'll see at a glance who I am as a writer. ;)

What is/are your genre(s)? Contemporary fiction. I also have an interest in humorous narrative non-fiction. But unrelated to novels, I write a humor column based on motherhood, as well as essays and articles on varying topics.

How many books are you working on now? Three: The women's fiction I've written and am actively querying, the contemporary fiction of which I began writing the first draft a couple months ago, and then the narrative non-fiction I've been planning and proposing.

Are you a linear or chunk writer? Most often I fall into the linear category. But when I stalled two-thirds of the way through my women's fiction, I jumped ahead to the ending. Since I'd known all along how I wanted the story to conclude, I decided I might reach that end better if it was laid out before me. And it worked!

What POV are you partial to? I started with first person point-of-view, but it just wasn't working. So I switched and, for me, third person is so much smoother. The story seems to unfold better, whereas it seemed stunted and jolty in first. I think I've found my niche with third person POV.

What tense do you use? Past. It's the only one that seems natural for my style of writing.

What theme keeps cropping into your books? For fiction, it's the main characters' ultimate search for happiness. In non-fic, motherhood.

How many days a week do you write? I usually write some form of something, even if just a blog post, each of a week's seven days. As a mom of two young girls, though, only one of which is in school, I've found it hard to line out a standard routine. So I'm relegated to doing true writing (on a larger scale project) during stolen snatches, when they've occupied themselves or after they've gone to bed.

What time of day do you get your writing done? There's no one answer for this. Sometimes it's while Dora the Explorer plays in the background, sometimes it's when my husband takes the girls out (or I escape on my own) and I'm left alone with my thoughts, and yet other times it's late at night, after I've had more than one iced mocha, and the caffeine and adrenaline and inspiration won't let me rest. There seems no rhyme nor reason.

Who are your mentors? This is tough for me to answer, because I have no true coach or tutor when it comes to writing. But I've found what I'd guess to be an equivalent amount of support and encouragement among other writers, who understand the passion, the hard work, the discipline, etc.; those I've found on AW and here on Blogger.

Who are your favorite authors to read? Those authors I read with any regularity are Jan Karon, Beverly Lewis, Barbara Delinsky, Nicholas Sparks, and James Patterson (I like the pscyh thrillers, but even moreso the contemporary fiction he's been delving into as of late). But, plain and simple, I love contemporary fiction (especially in the sub-genre of women's fiction). I've yet to sit down with a Jodi Picoult book, but I really look forward to reading her novels. And though I've only read one of Anne Lamott's books thus far (Bird By Bird - I highly recommend it!), I plan to check out others of her titles, both fic and non-fic.

And that's it for me. How would you answer these questions?

Friday, September 5, 2008

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

It found me. The chair I was meant to have in my reading nook.

I was out with one of my favorite people yesterday, and we were at one of our favorite stores. (TJ Maxx, which is hit or miss most times, but when it's hit, you find great stuff at great prices.) I rounded a corner and BLAM! there it was. A club chair, beckoning to me, both to sit down and to gander at its price tag. BLAM! It happened again. Seriously reduced and seriously good-looking meant I seriously had to have it. (I'm thinking of you here, Colby. Seriously.) And so I bought it. Here it is. I apologize for the dark picture. Our primary camera has been MIA for months (I have no idea where that booger is) and this back-up has no working flash. But you can still see the chair. It's a deep brown, so smooth. Right now it sits in our basement, until the balcony is completed. I'll show you how it looks when it's been seated in its rightful place. But for now...

And while I'm at this favorite thing, one of my favorite humor bloggers bestowed a neat "award" on me yesterday. *blush* Colby (watch out, she spits) gave me the Brilliante Weblog Award.

Thank you, Colby. You like me, you really like me.

And now, as any good blogger would do, I shall pass it down to those whose blogs touch me the most. Though Colby gave it to three people, I don't know that there's a limit. So I choose four.

Terri, whose inspirational posts are so, well, inspiring. And they rest my thoughts on the One who is most important. Joanne, who loves writing with coffee in hand more than I do, and whose thought-provoking blog always seems so apt. My cousin Josh who, just three years younger than me, is already one of the wisest men I know. He's brave enough to share his inner thoughts and past struggles, and mingle it all with humor, too. (Love you.) And Wendy, who has been such an encouragement to me for months now, and whose blog is presented in such a relatable way, it's like you're reading a warm note from a dear friend.

Also, super kudos to Melanie, who blogs about her life in Mexico. You, too, were awarded by Colby. So I'm not giving you a second trophy. ;)

I hope everyone's having a fantastic and productive day, and that your weekend is even better.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Shayna's Secret

I mentioned in this week's Stuff and Things (see two posts down), that kimmirich tagged me with a writing prompt. The idea was to start with the word or concept of secret or laughter or tears, etc., and expound upon it, in whatever way I wished. I chose secret, and here's what I came up with...

Shayna's Secret

She was sitting with her knees drawn to her chest, her arms wrapped around them. Her ear was tuned to what lay beyond her confines, but, for the moment, she could hear only the rapid beating of her heart. She took a few deep breaths, willing a calmness to envelop her. And as her pulse slowed, her eyes began to adjust to the darkness of the closet in which she sat.

She deftly reached for the penlight she’d tucked into the back pocket of her jeans. Once the beam illuminated her small surroundings she grabbed for the book, the one tucked into her husband’s hip-wader boot. She flipped through the paperback, finding the dog-eared page from her last reading. Repositioning herself to Indian-style, she laid the book over the cross of her legs, letting the thin ray of light rest upon its words.

Her free hand moving with grace, she pulled the chunky coffee mug to her lips. She tasted a sip, not even trying to suppress the small sigh that escaped her lips.

Ahhh. This is it, she thought.

She’d been looking forward to it all day. It was her moment of peace. In this little space, this secret place her family hadn’t yet realized she’d claimed…

If you feel an idea stir, write your own piece following the guidelines above. And let me know what you come up with.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Taking a Look at Freezing Point by Karen Dionne

Imagine you work for a large corporation; a corporation wanting nothing more than to create - yes, create - the next greatest supplier of water for those who need it. How? By travelling to Antarctica, where the answer exists in the form of an immense iceberg. The plans have been hashed and rehashed. The iceberg will be liquified... for pure, clean drinking water.

And then...

Imagine you're a scientist. You've worked with a team of specialists for years, studied the polar ice, lived a meager existence. You support environmentalism. Your goal has been preservation. Then man steps in. And ruins it all.

What happens when the two worlds collide? And, worse yet, what happens when an unforeseen horror - bigger than anyone can imagine - threatens everyone involved?

Karen Dionne has been called "the new Michael Crichton." This debut novel, the eco-thriller Freezing Point, will be released in October 2008. I recommend you order your copy now! Her written voice is truly gripping.

And come back on September 15th, when I'll review Kathleen Kent's The Heretic's Daughter, an historical novel about the Salem witch trials, in connection with Blog Stop Book Tours.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday's Stuff and Things #... 4?

So for today's SnT, I thought I'd mention...

I can't stop checking my inbox! Seriously. Chores and tasks and all are interrupted every few minutes for a quick run to the computer. Does it get any better?

I've finished reading my Advance Reading Copy of Karen Dionne's Freezing Point. Wow. But that's all I'll say now. I'll be posting a review in the next day or so... if I can do it without having to reference the book itself, which my husband stole and took to work. :) And might I say? I've had some personal correspondence with Karen. She's fabulously sweet, and has been supportive of my own writing endeavors. Karen, if you're out there: You rock!

Kimmirich tagged me with a writing prompt. I'm to take a secret, or the concept of one, and expound upon it in some way. I'm brainstorming, and I'll post that this week, too. A writing exercise based on her prompt will be great! I think. Read her poem here, and be sure to note the details of her book, The Unbreakable Child, which will be published Spring of 2009.

And lastly, Wee One woke up with a stuffy/runny nose this morning. It's progressed to lethargy and a raspy voice this afternoon, so I'm afraid she's coming down with a bad cold. And now I'm starting to feel "puny" myself, as my grandma used to say. Hope it won't be too rotten to us.

And now off to start dinner! Big One has requested scrambled eggs and sausage...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Query vs. Proposal

So I think most who frequent my blog are familiar with the concept and process of a query. But for first-time visitors or non-writers, a recap: You write a letter briefly expressing the premise of your (usually) fiction book, and ask the agent you're contacting if he/she would A) like to look at your manuscript and B) consider representing you. Sounds simple, right? It's so not simple. You have to encorporate all the most crucial aspects of your story, catch their attention with a hook, stand out from all the hundreds of queries besides yours, time it so they don't read yours after eating a rotten tuna fish sandwich, and do it all in the most professional way. YIKES.

Proposals are an entirely different process and output. They're done with non-fiction books, and a proposal is an all-out presentation for the agent. A proposal includes these steps, in this order: title page, overview, the market, the competition, about the author, publicity, annotated table of contents, and sample material. Plus three or four optional inclusions, if you like. You have to know your non-fic idea backwards and forwards; you have to research whether there's a market for it, if your book fits in but also how it's different and special, and how publicity and marketing would work once it's published. Whew. And then you submit it to your chosen agent, just as you would the query.

And it's crazy, but writing my proposal was so much easier than that query I've been sending out. I'm still happy with my query, don't get me wrong, but that was such a nasty booger to get "right." The proposal, conversely, was much more cut and dry, black and white. I'd have been totally lost if it weren't for that AW thread I referenced in my last post, so I give those involved with it super-kudos.

Still, the ease of my proposal just reiterated the feeling that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Every section seemed, at first, overwhelming. But I said, "I can do this. I'm a writer and I can handle it." And, by golly, I did! Every part flowed out of me, with a great deal of Guidance, I know. And I am so thankful for that. I feel so sure in what I'm doing with this.

And so I'm going to submit my non-fic proposal sometime today. I'll be looking it over for the last (millionth) time, and will send it off with good wishes and prayer. Think of me!


I got a rejection from my novel query yesterday (Sunday) morning at, believe it or not, 5:21 a.m. (Talk about keeping up with your slush pile!) It was very nice, and expressed that though my premise didn't excite them as much as they'd have liked, my writing showed promise. And, in a nutshell, to keep at it. So YAY! for another nice, positive rejection. That makes:

13 rejections, 16 out
1 proposal out, as of sometime today