Starting a New Chapter (or Two or Three or More)

Starting a New Chapter (or Two or Three or More)

This week marks the beginning of a whole new chapter for me…and my oldest son. He’s headed off to college and I’ll be there to help move him into the dorm, stock his snack pile, then hug him one more time before leaving him behind. He’ll be living away from home for the first time and learning to juggle classes, laundry, and basketball practices while making new friends and avoiding the wrong crowd. All of

The Author Toolbox: Raise Your Craft to a New Level

The Author Toolbox: Raise Your Craft to a New Level

We’ve already covered tools to help you get words onto the page, but not just any words will do. We need to raise our craft to the next level because we need characters readers will care about as well as a cohesive plot that wraps up nicely with a happily-ever-after ending sure to make Hollywood cheer. Tool #1 – Create an overview of the story. Whether you start with index cards, post-it notes, or scribbles

Finding Like-Minded Friendships

Last month, I had two unique experiences where I was surrounded by people walking in my shoes. The first was a regional CdLS gathering for families sharing the common experience of raising a child/adult with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome. The second was less than a week later at the national American Christian Fiction Writers Conference where hundreds of writers, editors, agents, and other publishing people gathered to learn, network, and celebrate accomplishments. In both places,

Expectations in the Balance

The super-short countdown has begun. Or as my daughter says, two more sleeps until I get on a plane to St. Louis to join 700 other writers, agents, editors, and publishing professional-types at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference. I’ve been thinking about, praying, and preparing for this conference for so long that my expectations are running high. Expectation is an eager anticipation or looking forward to a probable occurrence. While we tend to focus

Settling My Account Books

I know it’s not even close to tax season … and no, I’m not closing the doors on a business or wrapping up my personal affairs after a dire diagnosis. But, I am getting ready for the ACFW Conference next week and my brain turned toward financial things like how much cash I should bring along for my carbonated no-calorie caffeine addiction. Not to mention filing away the receipts for things I can use as a

Refocusing on Fiction

In just four and a half weeks, I’ll be on a plane to St. Louis to attend the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference. In addition to rubbing shoulders with other writers, meeting editors and agents, and learning from some of the best teachers in the industry, two of my novel manuscripts are Finalists in the Genesis contest for unpublished (in fiction) authors and the winners will be announced at the Gala on Saturday night.

First Impressions

As they say, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Clothing, facial expression, situation, words, and tone all combine to create an image in the minds of the people we meet. That initial image influences their opinions and responses … and is resistant to change. The same is true about opening lines in books. Authors only have a few words to pique the interest of a reader and hook them into reading on. A

Finding My Niche

Niche: A cranny, crevice or hollow. A situation or activity specially suited to a person’s interests, ability, or nature. When I first started purposefully writing in 2005, I wanted to write fiction. But the idea that wouldn’t leave me alone until I had it on paper was a non-fiction compilation of observations about the similarities between the game of football and a faith-filled life. Result? Pigskin Parables: Reflections of a Football Widow. Appealing to a

The Wall

Years ago, way back in high school, I used to be a long distance runner. Most races ranged from a mile to three miles, but my sophomore year, I entered a half-marathon. That’s over 13 miles of putting one foot in front of the other.  I can still remember parts of that race. The starting line was miles up a canyon in Utah. Soon after the gun fired, the pack of runners spread out along the winding, scenic road

To Prologue or Not To Prologue

That is the question lingering in my mind as I digest the feedback from this year’s ACFW Genesis contest. Some of the judges didn’t feel a real connection to my protagonist or understand why the search for her brother mattered so much to her. It’s a thread that carries throughout the entire book as she tries to regain that sense of security she had as a child. I’d sprinkled hints of backstory into my first