Quote of the Day

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie." Stephen King

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Okay, so WTF?

:) Yep. I mean, nope. I didn't make it to the next level at ABNA. A few of our friends did (yay for Jacob, Jonathan, Jarucia, Robert, and Liz, to name a few!) and a lot of us didn't, but the good thing is we're fine with it - ahem, we're FINE, crying is HEALTHY. Er...:)

In a way, I was glad of not making it further. Paper Tigers has a lot of work left to be done. Yep, it's a finished novel! I've done that twice now, two whole finished books, and I'm so proud, but I know PT isn't the novel I want it to be. Maybe I'll even change the whole direction the novel is going (instead of the mom going into the tunnel with the kids, how about hateful old Alison? Guffaw, wouldn't Rigby LOVE that. Just thinking aloud here...), and I need to scrap my passive voice and get more action in there faster; just things that take time. Revisions. Every author goes through it. BO-RING. But necessary.

So, I was all ready to tackle the thing starting the next day. To rip it apart and start the big revisions. And guess what was in my mailbox?

A request from an agent for a synopsis (a WHAT?! I've never done a synopsis! I avoided agents that WANTED a synopsis! Help!) and a request for more of the story. Incredible timing? Well, yes, I'm excited of course (!!!), but I'm not too surprised anymore about the timing of things. And I know there is no such thing as mere coincidence. As a Christian, I know God's on the case, 24/7.

Even if this agent isn't interested, I've still won. This is the second time, based on the first three chapters, that I've been asked for more. And now I have to put down the whole novel in synopsis form which will only help me focus on what I need to do to make it better. I should have done it as soon as chapter one was finished, for nut's sake. ;)

Okay, so it's back to the synopsis today. And, back to the fish bowl full of lots of other little fish all swimming and working hard and dreaming for their break to come and that agent to say yes. So as it is with life, too. When a door closes? Well, it's usually another door, but then sometimes a window that opens, though I'd prefer it be a bigger, nicer door. Er...:)

I'm in great company back in that little bowl. It's home. :) And btw? WTF? That is, Where's The FOOD? I needs me some chocolate (MEGAN!) to make it through this synopsis thing. ;)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Today's the Big Day!

Yep. Today's the day we find out if we made it to the next level at the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.

I don't truly expect to make it further. I HOPE to, of course. And my novel is pretty tight in the first three chapters, which I submitted. But after that...well, I have a lot of work to do. Even making it into the top 1,000, which I did, we still get two reviews of our excerpt from the vine reviewers, whether it's liked or not. I'm excited to get those objective views. Like in my critique group, those who have no vested interest in being especially nice to you :) ? They help tremendously in making us cut our 'babies' and get real about what's working (and mostly, what's not). Priceless that someone you don't even know will give an honest look into the book, taking time away from their own novels-in -progress.

But this is about today. I think I'll get very nervous for the five seconds it takes to search for and not find my name. :D If I do find it? I'm probably going to throw up. That means Publisher's Weekly reviews! And only having to beat out 249 others. Er...! :) Another step towards the real deal. The WHOLE novel gets read and judged for those making it further. Am I making sense at this point?

Well, some of us will jump from the little fish bowl full of hopes and dreams and messy ms's to the big bowl where we're scrutinized with a REALLY BIG magnifying glass. Here's to making it up the ladder. I mean, to the big bowl. Or simply drinking too much wine tonight and starting over. :) Good luck, my beloveds!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I've been thinking lately about how people come into our lives for a reason, season, or a lifetime. By coincidence (?) a new friend forwarded a mail she'd received about something that happened in a Starbucks in Manhattan. This is the story:

The song that silenced the cappuccino machine...
It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth. For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing. It was a fun, low-pressure gig - I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the '90s with a few original tunes thrown in.
During our emotional rendition of the classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along. After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked. "No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?"
To my delight, she accepted my invitation. "You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?" "Well...do you know any hymns?" Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. "Name one." "Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one." "Okay," I replied. "How about 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'?"
My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, "Yeah. Let's do that one." She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing.
Why should I be discouraged? Why should the shadows come?
The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.
I sing because I'm happy; I sing because I'm free. For His eye is on the sparrow,
and I know He watches me.
When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to adeafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin' to drink, just like you!" But the ovation continued. I embraced my new friend. "You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!"
"Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn," she said.
"Why is that?"
"Well . .." she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song."
"Really!" I exclaimed.
"Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual. "She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week."
I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. "Are you going to be okay?" She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm gonna be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything's gonna be just fine." She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.
Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to believe it. God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it's no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him and singing his songs, everything's gonna be okay.
The next time you feel like GOD can't use YOU, just remember...
* Noah was a drunk * Abraham was too old * Isaac was a daydreamer * Jacob was a liar * Leah was ugly * Joseph was abused * Moses had a stuttering problem * Gideon was afraid * Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer * Rahab was a prostitute * Jeremiah and Timothy were too young * David had an affair and was a murderer * Elijah was suicidal * Isaiah preached naked * Jonah ran from God * Naomi was a widow * Job went bankrupt * John the Baptist ate bugs * Peter denied Christ * The Disciples fell asleep while praying * Martha worried about everything * The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once * Zaccheus was too small * Paul was too religious * Timothy had an ulcer * Lazarus was dead!
No more excuses now!! God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren't the message, you are just the messenger. God bless you.
I just had to share this. Thanks to Tami Snow, my new friend :) for sharing this with me. I think it's no coincidence we recently became friends. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Critique Groups :)

I've joined a critic group here. I think this is going to be very helpful. It's a small group (7 so far) which gives us the personal attention and the time to give each excerpt careful consideration and thought.I've never been in on a critique group before. I met a few people on Agentquery.com after entering the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest the first time, who looked at my entry (then called The Good Fan). That book was/is a sprawling Romance novel. But I love that book. My heart actually gets butterflies when I think of returning to it. Each time I look at a chapter, I feel excited. My life changed because of that book.

My point is that the few that looked at that mansion of a novel (men, too) actually 1) got through it and 2) LIKED it. I was surprised! They gave it, my very first attempt at a novel, the thumbs up and also took the time to give me excellent advice, which I saved on my AOL mail.My only worry is that I'm not 'nice' enough. Oh, I'm a sweet person, sure. :) But when commenting, I find the good first, then slam with what I don't like. I try to end with the good again, but I don't like to be coddled and I don't coddle to well (er, where writing is concerned, that is ;). Wait, that's cuddling. I do cuddle well. Not coddle.

oookay. Wrapping this up? I'm really enjoying the group. If they don't kick me out before I post mine, I think this will simply rox.