IT'S ANOTHER FIRST SALE PARTY!!!
Oh my stars, we are thrilled to announce that one of our finalists in our October "Impromptu Query Contest" with Melissa Endlich of Love Inspired Books has just signed a contract!!!! Yes, Virginia... There is a BOOK with your name on it!
I’m thrilled to pieces to be here, on the other side of the blog fence. Ruthy asked me to share a few words about my writing journey. Prepare yourselves, this will not be Mary Connealy funny, or Sandra Leesmith inspiring, or Tina Radcliffe wise or Debby Giusti smart or a Ruthy pep talk. (Or anything close to the other great ladies here.... Or even a Vince Mooney a-ha post like ‘Rewards Per Page’.) Now that we’ve got THAT out of the way...
If you haven’t heard the story yet, I finaled in the October Seekerville query contest. (THRILL!) Ruthy sent us a tip sheet and asked us to revise (or not, but she thought we should at least give it another look). Melissa Endlich, the senior editor of Love Inspired graciously asked all FIVE of us to send in FULL manuscripts!
(Now I’m SCARED and THRILLED.) Ruthy sent along a little tip- take your time. Make it good. Make it count. So, I took another SIX weeks and revised my heart out. I sent it in December 20th, 2011.
I got an e-mail from Melissa on January 30th. I think I went into shock when I saw her name in my inbox. She wanted to know what was a good time to call and talk about my book. That was good, right?? I wasn’t sure. Was she going to do a lovely phone rejection because I was friends with the nice ladies of Seekerville?? I prepared myself to hear the worst but I was still going to enjoy every second of that phone conversation, because it was Melissa Endlich of Love Inspired. And she was talking to me. On the phone.
She said she liked it.
She said they wanted it.
She asked if November 2012 was okay for a publication date. I wish I could tell you more, but I honestly don’t remember the rest. I think we talked for a bit. I might have told her there were monkeys in the dishwasher. I’m really not sure.
There are revisions to be made, on a deadline. I’m cool with that. I’d write a whole new book in two months if she wanted it.
So, that’s the story!! I love that Seekerville, and all the folks who are so supportive to each other, got me my first sale. It couldn’t have happened in a better way. God has plans to prosper, not to harm, right? Here’s a great link to an article on what to do while you wait, because there’s more to that verse...
But I like to blab so here are some thoughts on the writing life:
I’m notorious among my friends for going overboard on everything, so I thought I’d pick TWO titles for every little bullet point. (You’re welcome.)
"Joy Suckers" or
‘Rocks were a lot heavier in my day’
We all know those people: the ones who find fault with everything, who won’t give credit where credit is due. So, when you win or final in a contest, don’t tell THEM. Tell Seekerville! Tell your crit partners! Tell your facebook family that will whoop, “HOORAY FOR YOU”!
Be cautious and check Editors and Preditors, but avoid the nay-sayers. The ones who think agents are out to take advantage of you, or that contests are just stealing your money, or posting on sites will bring spam to your inbox. If you think it might help your career, go for it. I got a whole lot more response to queries when the header included ‘finaled in’ than when it didn’t. Which brings me to...
"Please, pick me! Pretty, pretty please!"
I entered contests for the first time in 2011. The comments were invaluable. And painful. And confusing. But I got my stuff out there in front of someone who wasn’t related to me by blood. So, I consider that a win-win.
On the not-so-good end, I got second to last in the Genesis and moped for a week. (Psst! Mary Curry who comments on Seekerville WON the same category! And she’s so humble. I would have changed my name to ‘Genesis Winner’. I can NOT wait to read that book...)
On the better end, I finaled in the TARA and my judges were so overwhelmingly positive, I re-read the comments for days. I called my sister and read them to her over the phone. I taped them to the wall in the kitchen. I grabbed those nice things and held on tight. (Philippians 4:18) THEN Kelly Gwyn wrote me an e-mail, saying she had been one of the judges and added fuel to my writing fire with MORE nice words! This wasn’t even a book that was sitting on any editor’s desk. I cannot describe the gratitude I felt and still do. Which brings us to...
"Gratitude- It’s what’s for dinner"
or "Six Kids in One Room"
Back in the olden days when we had just four kids, we were thinking of building an addition to our house. Our plans fell through, my husband’s employer went bankrupt, and we had another baby. And then another. We went from ‘sort of weird’ to all out ‘strange’ in the eyes of the Sunday play-date-in-the-park crowd. I had people tell me it was illegal to have so many kids in one room. I had moms say they would have liked to have had more, but they would never want their kids to share rooms- it was CRUEL.
You can’t eat gratitude, but it sure can nourish the soul. (1 Thess. 5:18) I’m so grateful for my children. Grateful we have a roof over our heads and enough food to eat. Grateful that God is, and always has been, faithful. And ever so grateful we’re finally starting that addition. (Probably not as grateful as my 10 and 11 year old girls, though. Poor things. I surprised they haven’t moved out by now. Little brothers are a pain.)
"Critiques are fun!" or
"Pass the Chocolate."
I won an anonymous Seekerville critique back when they were still handing those out like they were dime-store suckers. I sent in probably the worst five pages ever written in the English language. I still have the comments. They make me laugh.... NOW. At the time I was sort of confused. How did this person NOT like this work of literary art? Did she not read it? Was there some sort of mix up?
I sent the pages to my sister, Susie. Strangely enough, she said the same thing. With a lot of coughing. And pauses. And lovingly put sister-type words.
Ohhhh. So, it really was bad. But was there hope? I took some time to mope, then I read the comments again. The scene could be saved. If I put it somewhere else. Not in the beginning. And maybe added some action. Or dialogue. Okay, maybe I should just cut it.... So, I did.
Sometimes it hurts to hear the truth. And that’s what friends are for. Really.
"Face the Music" or
"(Wo) Man up!"
Recently I made a mistake. But I only realized it after the fact. I asked a friend what she thought I should do and she said, ‘Well, you can tell the truth or you can make it into a National Lampoon skit.’ I’ve never been a fan of National Lampoon. I think it’s a pretty dumb movie. So, I could look dumb or I could be dumb.
I decided to WOMAN UP. I admitted I’d made a mistake. All parties were gracious about my dumb move. We all moved on. Sometimes you just have to face the music and hope for the best.
"Find a Door You Can Lock" or
"Virginia Woolf Was Right."
My three year old can pick the lock on the bathroom door. And he does. All the TIME. There’s no privacy in this house. So, how do you finish a book when you can’t even finish your bathroom business without visitors? Besides investing in a bank vault, I would say you have to find someplace that is yours. Sometime’s it’s an actual place, like Virginia Woolf’s ‘Room of Her Own’. Sometimes it’s a time, rather than a place. Mine is late at night, because the only privacy I can get around here is when little people are unconscious. And that’s okay. That’s when I can make room to think, to write, to ponder.
"Look for Heros" or
"I Am the Elizabeth Gaskell Fan Club President"
“Elizabeth WHO?” She wrote by hand ( ‘North and South’ anyone?) in the late 1840's, at her kitchen table, with five kids underfoot. Her husband was a minster and social reformer who tutored poor people in their living room. She’s my hero. Because she did it all without a washing machine or electricity and she wrote what God had placed on her heart. Her ROMANCE stories changed lives and made people think. She wrote even when other people told her she couldn’t, shouldn’t.
Well, let me wrap this up (or I’ll never stop) with a big thank you to Seekerville and all the Seekers. Thank you for letting me lurk, post, ramble, and join your contests!!!
And pass the goodies!! I’ve brought hot chocolate chip cookies, ice cream cake, and fresh raspberries (because they’re out of season and cost $300 a pound, but this is cyber food, which costs nothing!)
Oh, bio. Right. Um, I live in Oregon with my habanero-eating husband Crusberto, where we are raising our six unsocialized home-schooled children who sometimes wear shoes. (Usually not.) I have dual degrees in linguistics and religious studies from the University of Oregon. I’ve lived in France and Poland, which gave me my fear of cabbage and cold weather. I can be reached on facebook or at the 1K1HR group and a recently signed a contract with super agent Natasha Kern.