Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Agents and Friendships

I'm excited to announce that the first annual Write to Inspire conference was a huge success! I'm told that next year the conference might be in July as compared to August like it was this mark your calendars now for 2012 if you're near CA or if you just like to travel! We can carpool. :)

I can't believe how much I learned in a day and a half! And not just about the craft of writing (although there was plenty of that) and not just about the publishing industry (lots of that too).

What I came away with more than anything is that...I love Jesus! (Yes, I already knew this but it's nice to feel it deep in your soul when you're not exactly expecting to feel it overmuch.) And I especially love being around other people that love Jesus!

I was beyond impressed with agent Karen Ball. Now, for the record, I knew that Karen was a Christian and I sort of expected her to talk about God a little bit - it was a Christian conference after all. But I was blown away by her fire and passion and depth. God's love just oozed from her every word. I love watching people like that!

One of her workshops was about the importance of literary agents. What they do for their clients, how to find an agent, what to look for in an agent, questions to ask agents and how to catch an agents attention. All good stuff.

But what struck me the most was the relational side of the partnership she has with many of her clients. That probably jumped out at me because I'm a relational person and I hope to one day have a partnership with an agent that goes beyond business. Someone that I can form a friendship with and someone that has God at the center of everything they do and are and represent.

And it got me thinking about CBA agents and their relationships with their clients and I was wondering, if you have a Christian agent, do they just ooze God? Was that a requirement for you or not? Or do they keep business and faith separate? Do you have a friendship with your agent? Do you even want one? Or are sales more important? If you don't have an agent, what are your non-negotiable requirements for one? Share with me!

(The picture is of Karen and her hubby Don. What a great story they have!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scatter Brain

Today I am fine tuning my one sheet and pitch just in case someone (namely, Karen Ball) happens to ask tomorrow or Saturday at the Write to Inspire conference. (Does it make sense if I say, I'm praying that Karen asks but hoping that she doesn't?)

I'm too excited and too nervous and too scattered to focus at the moment so I'm afraid that's all I have for today. Not very interesting and definitely not remarkable. Thomas Umstattd would be shaking his head at me if he saw this post.

So to all my lovely blogging buddies, have a fabulous weekend! :)

P.S. The picture has nothing to do with anything except that I thought it looked happy and cheerful. And ever since I saw the movie You've Got Mail (years ago) I always think of Meg Ryan and how her character in the movie loves daisies because they're just the happiest flower. Weird that I remember that. Just proves that I am indeed scattered today.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Observations From A Football Game

Okay, today you're going to learn a few random facts about me.

But first, you need to know I married a sports nut. And that doesn't even marginally describe my husband's obsession with all things sports. To give you a clue to his craziness (in my opinion) before he would propose to me, he made me memorize all 32 NFL football teams, cities and mascots. Nuts, right? (Although at the time it was very cute and somehow flirty...not anymore!)

Fact # 1 - Somehow, in over seven years of marriage to this nut, I have never been to an NFL game. Watched plenty on TV, been to a few pro baseball games (SF Giants = great fun!) and even basketball games (Sac Kings = not fun).

So this past weekend, I surprised (hindsight - ask the sports nut his opinion on whether my surprise idea is even a good idea before I buy the surprise) Chris with tickets to the very first pre-season football game (do any of you even follow football?) between the SF 49ers and the Oakland Raiders. What I didn't know is that the Raiders are known for their...let's say "unfriendly" approach to other teams' fans. I'm told that if you're brave enough to enter into the Raider stadium you'd better not be wearing the opposing teams jersey.

Fact # 2 - I live in a bubble. Probably a self constructed bubble but a nice, white-picket fences, daisies on my doorstep, bunnies and rainbows bubble. I love my bubble. It's safe and clean and marijuana free.

Quote from hubby during the game: "Well, if nothing else, at least you can say you now know what weed smells like." Thanks, dear.

Fact # 3 - Sometimes I just want to be comfortable. During a sporting event, I usually opt for jeans, a t-shirt and tennis shoes. Maybe, if I'm feeling "groupie-ish" I'll add a jersey or a baseball cap. Nothing special, nothing fancy. Mainly I dress for comfort during a game.

I could not believe how much black eyeliner I came face to face with at this football game. Skinny jeans, Uggs, designer handbags, 4 inch heels and prom style hairdo's. What! Where the heck are we? At a game or on the runway? I've never felt like such an ugly duckling before. I was way under-dressed. Next time I go to a game, I'll know you're supposed to wear a cocktail dress with a very uncomfortable looking G-string.

Fact # 4 - Devastation and poverty bring me to my knees. All kidding aside, the stadium we visited was in a very bad part of San Francisco. The homeless, including one very sad looking child, were swarming the tail-gate area collecting the mountain of cans and bottles. The homes in the nearby areas are run down shacks with bars on the windows.

While I was looking down my nose at the deplorable housing, Chris informed me that a single mom living in this area would be fighting desperately to secure one of those houses to live in. It's easy to see how a persons environment as a child plays into who they become as an adult. (In case you haven't the end of this particular football game there were two shootings and numerous arrests. During the game itself, hubby and I saw at least 10 fist fights and many people taken out of the stands in cuffs.)

Fact # 5 - I tend to hold grudges. On the way home, Chris kept assuring me that this isn't what a typical 49er football game is like. He even went so far as to say, "Next time you want to surprise me, please don't." I'm not sure if or when I'll ever feel like visiting that stadium again. Even with my man's assurance that "it's just the stupid Raiders", I'm not too keen about going back.

So you can guess my reaction when half way home, Chris says, "I can't wait to bring Cody to his first game." Yeah right dude! Over my dead body!

Are you a sports fan? Do you attend games regularly? Who are your favorite teams? Have you head about the mess after this particular game?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Sister's Wisdom

A few weeks ago, I was whining to my sister about some mundane job in my life. Probably laundry. I whine a lot about laundry! (That's my beautiful sister Nicole and my niece Ashley in the picture.)

Sometimes when I want to whine, it's nice to have someone to commiserate with me. You know, to agree with me that yes, in fact, doing laundry (or whatever else it may be) stinks...Ha!...sometimes literally! :) (I'm cracking myself up over here.)

But on this particular day, my older, apparently wiser sister, didn't acknowledge and understand my gripe like I was hoping she would. She basically said knock it off (the complaining) and do it (the laundry) with a happy heart.

Well, I don't really like to be told what to do very much. In fact, if I can, I'll probably find some valid reason to do the exact opposite of what someone tells me to do in the first place. But in this instance...she was right.

And it didn't hurt that she reminded me of the new Steven Curtis Chapman song Do Everything. So now, every time I hear that song, I'm reminded of how I can do even the most grueling, boring, unimportant tasks with extra fervor and umph because I'm really doing it to glorify my God.

Wonderful lesson, right?

One problem though. now when I hear that song, I also think of how my sister was right. And sometimes that's as stinky as the laundry!

Smile, we're doing it all for HIM! Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just Curious...

When you submit your work, who do you find brings out your anxious tendencies the most? Knowing everyone is going to have some judgement of your writing, who do you want to like it the most?

~ Agents

~ Editors

~ Readers

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Oreo Hunting

In honor of my new Liebster Award, I'm supposed to write about other fabulously small but powerful bloggers fact I want to! But I just noticed that the majority of the blogs I follow are BIG. Hundreds of followers, some even thousands.

So I have to put off this post while I research. And believe me, researching other blogs is sweet fun!

On a completely different note, today is the first day of school for my two munchkins. My little Ava is in Jr. Kindergarten and Cody is in Kindergarten. Not sure how I ended up with two kids in Kindergarten but it is what it is. :)

To be completely honest, I'm not thrilled about school starting today. I'm just not one of those moms that looks forward to sending off her kids. I'm selfish that way. I want them with me.

So today will involve a lot of whimpering and sniffling (when my kids aren't looking - I don't want to rain on their parade, after all).

Truth be told, I just kinda feel like being sad today so I'm off to find a box of Oreo's.

Happy Thursday everyone!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gotta Start Somewhere

I have a confession to make.

Last week I was so plagued by self-doubt and insecurities that I almost canceled my registration for the ACFW conference in September. Who am I to think I’m ready to attend a writers conference? My book isn’t finished. I’m unsure of my theme. I’m just not ready!

Thankfully, I came to my senses. Aided greatly by some wise words from Ginny Yttrup, author of the “masterpiece” Words, and one of the speakers at the Write to Inspire Conference on August 26th and 27th.

“I began attending writers conferences when my sons were toddlers-about 18 years ago. I learned everything I know about writing from those conferences…”

You know what that tells me? It’s never too soon to attend a conference! After all, the learning needs to start somewhere. Why not learn at the feet of those who have traveled the road before you?

Ginny’s statement is one that I needed to hear. I try so hard not to have super huge expectations as I prepare for my upcoming conferences but truth be told, crazy hope manages to squeeze in.

Hearing that Ginny attended conferences for 18 years! Wow! What a wake-up call. A needed reminder that learning to craft a masterpiece takes time.

The bottom line is this: all we have control over is writing a great story – something that can be learned. The rest is up to God’s perfect will and timing.

“I'm not the writer of masterpieces-I'm simply a gal who loves God and followed His call in faith even when all seemed hopeless. He is the One who created the masterpiece and gave me the gift of doing it through me.”

No matter where you’re at on your writing journey (thinking about writing or the author of piles of books), I hope I have the opportunity to meet you at the Write to Inspire Conference or ACFW’s Conference.

I’ll be at both…learning! :)

Will you be there too? If not, what’s holding you back? Do you think there's a "right" time to attend a conference or is any time a good time?

****I want to give a huge THANK YOU to Kelley Gerschke over at Between the Bookends for bestowing on me the Liebster Blog award and even kinder words that just plain made my day! I had never heard of this award so I googled and found two different meanings for Liebster: Friend and Dearest. Neither of which I mind. ;) I'll devote some time on Thursday to loving on some of my favorite, smaller blogs in honor of this award.*****

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Getting To Know You...

I just finished watching The King and I with my kids. Do you remember this old Rogers and Hammerstein movie?

I love all the fun songs and the beautiful costumes. And the love story is so subtle, as a kid, I missed it completely. But watching it today made me tear up in between my kids' crazy giggling every time the King said, "etcetera, etcetera, etcetera".

One of the songs in the movie is all about getting to know someone new so I thought it would be fun to get to know all of you a bit better.

Answer all or one. I just wanna know YOU! :)

Flip flops, tennis shoes or heels?

Old movies or modern flicks?

Beach or mountains?

Sweet or salty?

Clean or cluttered?

Tent or hotel?

Salad or steak?

Quiet or loud?

Thoughtful or impulsive?

Eat out or eat in?

Up early or up late?

What is one of your biggest dreams?

Here's to getting to know you all!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How Much Is Too Much?

(Warning: I'm thinking out loud today. Not sure where I stand on this issue.)

In my teens and early twenties I was obsessed with all of Johanna Lindsey's books. Ever heard of her?

You must have, because she's the best-selling author of some of the steamiest, well-written love stories ever! Her regency series about the Malory's was intoxicating, make-me-swoon perfection! Who am I kidding? Each of her books was the BEST!

My heart would flutter throughout each story. The way she crafted her characters and then wove in their flaws and struggles...tension everywhere! It was pure brilliance! Seriously, I'm wiping drool off my chin as I think about how much I enjoyed reading those novels.

And then I heard a comment from a friend that went something like this: "Those books are glorified porn for women. Smut."

So I stopped reading them because, well, the P word is a bit too much for me.

What do you think? Are romance novels "glorified porn for women?"

If you're like me than you don't need the heroes body parts labeled six different ways to get that heart-flutter feeling. Some innocent flirting, a longing glance, a kind gesture, a heartfelt confession, a sweet kiss, something completely innocent can send my pulse racing.

We call those things "romantic" but if you stripped away all the fancy, polite descriptions are we left with the P word? Do you think the heart fluttering is equivalent to porn?

Please weigh in. I'm so curious to hear what you all think about this.

(It took me forever to find a cover to one of her books that I wouldn't feel too embarrassed about posting on my blog. The picture above is as G-rated as it gets.)