Friday, June 29, 2007

This Blog Rocks

Kittens Come From Eggs received the Rockin' Girl Blogger award today thanks to my bud Robin Caroll. Now I'm supposed to pick five blogs to receive this fun award. Drum roll, please...

I choose:
Jennifer Tiszai (Happy Birthday, Jennifer!)
Lynn Donovan (Spiritually Unequal Marriage)
Gina Conroy (Writer...Interrupted)
Margie Vawters (The Writer's Tool)
Brandilyn Collins (Author Extraordinaire!)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Preparing the Way

Almost three years ago, I joined a writers group called the American Christian Romance Writers. Shortly after that, they became the American Christian Fiction Writers. Until that time I'd only attended one secular writers conference and had unsuccessfully attempted to find my footing in a couple of local writer's groups.

After joining this amazing organization, I found an incredible core group of writers who have not only become my critique partners, but my closest friends. They get my writing. They get me. I've grown leaps and bounds in my writing and in my faith since knowing these amazing people. I now also have a superb agent who believes in my work and is determined to see my latest story published. None of this would have been possible without joining this incredible organization of talented writers and authors, and attending the conferences.

Which brings me to the point of this post. September 20th marks the beginning of the 2007 ACFW Conference. If you want to meet other writers, learn and grow in the craft of writing, and make connections in the publishing industry, then I encourage you to attend. This year's theme is "Preparing the Way." That's not a boast, but a truth. If you want to write and work in the industry, the conference is a must.

This year will be my third time attending, and I can't wait to see what God has in store this year. I've come to expect nothing specific and anything amazing. I hope you'll consider attending and begin preparing the way for your own writing journey.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Journey of Prayer

PrayingYou’ve prayed for weeks, days, months, and now years for your spouse’s salvation. The prayers aren’t as frequent as before. Instead, a sense of hopelessness has slowly replaced the original fervency of your petitions. You’ve asked so many times, yet God seems to either not hear you or your spouse has an unusually thick skull. Nothing’s getting through. I can only say one thing.

Don’t stop now.

Read more at Writer...Interrupted.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Double Crit Editorial Services
—Open for Business

My "twin" and awesome crit partner Ronie Kendig has started a new venture in partnership with Sara Mills. I highly recommend their services. Ronie's been a huge help to me in advancing my writing. And I've only had the pleasure of seeing Sara edit a book review I wrote for a publication she worked with. I was very impressed by her edits as well. So take a look!

Double Crit Editorial Services

~specializes in polishing fiction book proposals~


Double Crit is a unique freelance editing service that offers high-level critiques of fiction book proposals from two experienced editors. Whether a writer is preparing for a conference or getting ready to submit their manuscript to editors and agents, Double Crit can help.

Double Crit is here to help with book proposal formatting, query letters, synopses and story structure as well as the first thirty pages of the manuscript. They can assist with the opening hook, back-cover copy, active and passive voice, showing vs. telling, character development, spiritual threads, and point of view.

Double Crit sharpens proposals to double your edge in the publishing world.

Double Crit Editorial Services is the brain-child of Ronie Kendig and Sara Mills. Ronie and Sara were brought together as friends and critique partners because they are both represented by the same agent.

Through networking with other writers, Sara & Ronie saw a gaping need for high-level editing services for writers who want to attend writers conferences with proposals that are polished and ready to impress. Thus, Double Crit was born.

A great book proposal can open publishing house doors for a writer, and Double Crit can to help you to tighten your proposal to sharpen your edge in the publishing world.

Contact Double Crit:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Last Sin Eater

I finally had the chance to sit down and watch the Last Sin Eater this week. Yes, yes, I'm a little behind here, but honestly, I hesitated to watch this movie for a number of reasons. One, I doubted the quality. I know faith-based have come a long way, but sometimes the quality is just, well, lacking.

Two, I'm not of fan of period pieces. This story is set in the 1850's. So, needless to say, I put off watching this film, yet I found myself strangely drawn to it.

Let me first address the quality issue. Michael Landon and his team did a superb job. My only complaint would be the images of Cadi Forbes with the gorge running beneath her. A small complaint. The acting was superb, especially the actress playing Cadi, Liana Liberato. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more films featuring this young talent.

As for the historical aspects, also handled extremely well. Definitely a case of the setting supporting the story and not overrunning it.

Now the real deal cincher here is the story. I've read Francine River's book, Redeeming Love, and fell in love with the story and this amazingly talented author's ability to tell a tale. The Last Sin Eater is another hope-filled tear jerker that leaves you aching for more. If you get a chance to rent this movie, do so. The "behind the scenes" is worth watching as well. And best of all, this is a great movie to watch with anyone, no matter what their beliefs. The theme of forgiveness is universal, and this story tells it to perfection.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

And We Have a Winner!

The proud winner of Over Her Head by Shelley Bates is Rose McCauley! Rose, email me with your mailing address so I can send your book. :-)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Guest Blogger, Shelley Bates

Today we have Shelley Bates here with a glimpse into her latest release, Over Her Head, and a very insightful article about using symbols, imagery and metaphors to create a story that holds together and enchants your reader. AND, if you leave a comment, you'll be entered in a drawing to win a copy of her new book! Enjoy!

Thanks, Dineen, for inviting me to guest on your blog! I’m celebrating the release of my fourth book for Christian women, Over Her Head, which has my favorite cover of all my books so far.

The art department at FaithWords really knows what it’s doing. The thing I like most about it is the way the heroine, Laurie, seems to be swimming toward the light. In fact, she spends the whole book doing that. Isn’t it amazing how they captured the whole plot arc with one image?

The use of images, symbols, and metaphor really served me well in the writing of the book, too. I had my central idea, which was taken from Psalm 124:

“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.”

Once you know your central idea or theme, you can tie all the pretty stuff—the images, motifs, and so on—into it. What this does is create cohesion in your descriptions and settings that can give your book a sense of its own completeness. You won’t find yourself wandering off into thickets of narrative that don’t contribute directly to your story. Instead, it will look as though it grew organically. “Write tight” doesn’t just mean hunting down adjectives and adverbs with a red pen and making them bleed. It means choosing only words and phrases that contribute
somehow to your theme—that form the metaphors and images that support it.

Let me show you what I mean. Over Her Head is set in a small imaginary town in Pennsylvania that has a river running through it. The homicide that kicks off the book happens on a bridge—a big, old-fashioned wooden trestle. Bridges usually connect two sides of things, but in this book, bridges divide: truth from lies, friends from enemies, the comfortable past from the uncertain future. People cross bridges at turning points in the story—maybe a little obvious, but it was fun to architect it that way.

The theme of being overwhelmed by a wave not only reflects how the victim died, but is borne out in the heroine’s increasing feelings of drowning and helplessness as she watches circumstances close around her teenage daughter. And the victim’s mother searches the riverbanks for any of her daughter’s possessions that might have washed up—the way she’s searching her memories of their rocky relationship and trying to hang onto the good
things about it.

See how this all ties together? Sit down with your manuscript and give its central theme some thought—and then work with your descriptions and motifs to give your story its own unique flavor and sense of wholeness. Your readers will thank you!